Murphy administration establishes task force on employee misclassification

David Madden
May 03, 2018 - 6:55 pm
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

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EDISON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order establishing a task force to look into how some workers are classified as independent contractors as a way to cut costs and get around labor laws. 

The move comes as the administration revealed the cost of its own labor accord with the state's largest public employees union.

The administration is going after businesses, mostly in construction, that hire people as independent contractors as a way to skirt labor laws. 

"There's only one reason and one reason only why an employer will purposely misclassify an employee as an independent contractor," Murphy said. "That is to exploit that worker and to rob them of the wages, workers' comp, family and medical leave, unemployment insurance, and safe workplace protections they are to be provided under the law."

The task force will look at the state of the business world, compare that with how current law is being enforced and then recommend changes. Most of its membership will come from various state agencies.

Meanwhile, the Communication Workers of America just approved a four-year contract, more than half of which goes back to Chris Christie's term. Murphy took his predecessor to task over that.

"Even in prior administrations on both sides of the aisle, and even when there wasn't a contract, the steps were paid," Murphy said. "He neither negotiated a contract nor paid the steps."

The total added costs of the new deal amount to just under $150 million, but that number could go up. Murphy said his budget accounts for the increases.