Moorestown, NJ – Senator Troy Singleton today called on the Executive Branch of State Government to stop the rampant and widespread illegal abuse of workers in the construction industry through employee misclassification.
Companies who misclassify full-time workers as contractors commit wage theft by paying below minimum wage, establishing illegal work weeks, paying cash and evading taxes – all to increase profits. Senator Singleton called on the NJ Department of Labor, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Treasury, and the Governor’s Task Force on Misclassification, to continue to address this issue.
“Employee misclassification is a problem because when workers are misclassified as independent contractors by their employers, it not only diminishes their access to labor protections, but it also has real consequences on the State’s economy and tax revenues,” said Singleton. “Ensuring workers are treated fairly is a priority for me and while progress has been made when the Governor signed my Stop Work Order legislation, more needs to be done to protect workers and hold offenders accountable.”
Singleton was the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 2557, which concerns stop-work orders related to prevailing wage and construction worker employment. S2557 was signed into law in July 2019 and would permit the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to issue a stop-work order against an employer upon determining that an employer has paid a worker less than the prevailing wage. The stop-work order would apply to every site where the violation continues to occur. It could only be lifted by the Commissioner if the Department finds the employer has agreed to pay future wages at the required rate, return any back-wages owed to workers and pay any penalty assessed by the Department.
“There must be a level playing field for all New Jersey workers,” continued Singleton. “As a devout supporter of the construction trades, I call on those in the Executive Branch of our state government to use all available resources to crack down on this unfair practice immediately.”
The William J. Hughes Center at Stockton University released a study that said approximately 35,000 workers are illegally misclassified as independent contractors, while the state is losing $25 million a year in tax revenue due to the fraud.