House Bill Would Penalize Employee Misclassification

Two Democrats in Congress have introduced a bill to crack down on the practice by some employers of classifying workers improperly as independent contractors in order to pay them less. "Employers who misclassify their employees as independent contractors rob workers of needed pay and benefits and cost government at all levels substantial uncollected revenues," said U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., who chairs the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. "Despite, this enormous problem, the Department of Labor has failed not only to crack down on this practice by enforcing current laws, but has failed to coordinate with other agencies to address the issue."

"The egregious practice of misclassifying workers as independent contractors needs to end," said the other sponsor, U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., who chairs the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. "The Employee Misclassification Prevention Act is pro-employee, pro-employer, and pro-taxpayer. The bill will protect employee benefits, remove incentives for employers to misclassify their workers, and ensure that bad employers don't line their own pockets with unpaid payroll taxes."

Full-time employees who are misclassified as independent contractors lose workers' compensation coverage, minimum wage and overtime protections, and family and medical leave. The Government Accountability Office says more than 10 million workers in the U.S. are classified as independent contractors, and a Massachusetts study found 11.4 percent of that state's construction workers had been misclassified as independent contractors between 2001 and 2003, according to the two legislators. The bill, the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act of 2008 (H.R. 6111), would impose penalties on employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors; make employers keep records on and notify workers of their employment or independent contractor classification and their right to challenge that classification; require state unemployment insurance agencies to conduct audits to identify employers who are misclassifying employees; monitor states' effectiveness in identifying employers who misclassify employees; allow the U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service to share information on cases where employers misclassify workers; and require DOL to perform targeted audits focusing on employers in industries that frequently misclassify employees.

Download Center

  • EHS Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2021

    September 2021

    Featuring:

    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Managing Combustible Dust and Risk Mitigation
    • PPE: CONSTRUCTION
      The Rising Popularity of Safety Helmets on the Jobsite
    • PPE: ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Five Tips for a Successful Wear Trial
    • SAFETY & HEALTH
      Medical Surveillance Versus Medical Screening
    View This Issue