On June 1, the New York Senate put the state in position to be first in the nation to enact a Domestic Workers' Rights law (S2311) by a vote of 33-28. The New York Assembly led the way in June 2009 when it passed its own version of the bill (A1470). This groundbreaking legislation will extend core labor rights, from fair labor standards to paid sick days, to creating a framework for collective bargaining, to domestic workers. This will include those employed to work in a private home to perform housekeeping and/or to care for children, the infirm, or the elderly.
Progressive States Network will be working with state leaders around the
country to promote policies to improve enforcement of minimum wage, overtime and
related wage laws in the states. This Dispatch will highlight the
chronic wage violations in the workplace, model wage law enforcement language
for states to promote, messaging to support those campaigns, and specific ways
such an approach has the added benefit of undercutting anti-immigrant attacks in
Delaware’s legislature passed the Workplace Fraud Act (HB 230),
an employee misclassification bill that increases penalties for
construction employers who knowingly misclassify employees as
contractors in order to evade state and federal taxes and wage and hour
laws, saving as much as 30% on the margins.
Earlier this month, the Maryland legislature joined a number of
states in cracking down on worker misclassification by enacting the
Maryland Workplace Fraud Act (S 909 / H 819 ) which has the support of Gov. O'Malley
who is expected to sign the bill shortly. The main focus of the bill
was stopping the misclassification of workers as "independent
contractors" used by employers to deny them a minimum wage, overtime
and key workplace benefits.
are also increasingly targeting the employer tactic of misclassifying
employees as "independent contractors," which excludes
workers from minimum wage, prevailing wage, overtime, health and safety,
and right to organize protections. Because
of these problems, cracking down on misclassification of independent
contractors is becoming a priority for many states:
In 2007, Minnesota and Colorado both enacted new
laws cracking down on misclassification of employees as "independent
contractors" to evade state wage laws.
legislatures in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New
Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Vermont,and Wisconsin all introduced new laws to
crack down on employers misclassifying employees as independent contractors
to evade wage laws.
2008, Utah, SB 159 makes it fraud to
misclassify an employee to avoid the obligation to obtain workers'
compensation insurance coverage, and SB 189 establishes a
council to study how to reduce costs resulting from the misclassification
The New York
Attorney General's office has aggressively pursued wage claims against joint employers, including against
large supermarket and drugstore chains for unpaid wages due to delivery
workers misclassified as independent contractors.
law, Pub. Act. No. 07-89, provides that
employers who misrepresent the number or type of their employees for
purposes of the workers' compensation system, can be issued a stop work order
and ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000. In 2008, ConnecticutHB 5113 and SB
established a commission to review the problem of employer
misclassification for purposes of avoiding obligations under state and
federal labor, employment, and tax laws.
Instead of allowing the right-wing to scapegoat undocumented immigrant
workers, Progressive States Network will be working with progressive
leaders across the country to introduce wage enforcement laws that
emphasize that native and immigrant workers both suffer under illegal
working conditions. See State Immigration Project: Policy Options for 2009 for the full range of immigration policies Progressive States Network is supporting in upcoming legislative sessions.
The Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved SF 2416,
a bill to sharply increase fines on employers violating Iowa state wage
laws, crack down on the practice of misclassifying employees as
"independent contractors" to evade those laws, and protect workers
reporting violations from retaliation.