Final Comments to the Record for Senate Hearing

The Campaign for Quality Construction submitted comments to the record for the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workforce Safety’s November 12, 2013 hearing on Payroll Fraud: Targeting Bad Actors Hurting Workers and Businesses.  The subcommittee is part of the larger Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

The full statement for the record is available by clicking the link below.

Campaign for Quality Construction Comments for the Record

Legislative Update

S.1687
Latest Title: Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2013
Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 11/12/2013)      Cosponsors (5)
Latest Major Action: 11/12/2013 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


SUMMARY AS OF:
11/12/2013–Introduced.

Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2013- Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to require every person (including every employer and enterprise) that employs an employee or non-employee who performs labor or services, including through an entity such as a trust, estate, partnership, association, company, or corporation, to: (1) classify such individuals accurately as employees or non-employees; and (2) notify each new employee and new non-employee of his or her classification as an employee or non-employee, together with information concerning their legal rights.

Makes it unlawful for any person to: (1) discharge or otherwise discriminate against an individual (including an employee) who has opposed any practice, or filed a complaint or instituted any proceeding related to this Act, including with respect to an individual’s status as an employee or non-employee; and (2) wrongly classify an employee as a non-employee.

Doubles the amount of liquidated damages for maximum hours, minimum wage, and notice of classification violations by an employer. Subjects a person who: (1) violates such requirements (including recordkeeping requirements) to a civil penalty of up to $1,100; or (2) repeatedly or willfully violates such requirements to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to establish a single webpage on the Department of Labor website that summarizes the rights of employees and non-employees under the FLSA and this Act.

Amends the Social Security Act to require, as a condition for a federal grant for the administration of state unemployment compensation, for the state’s unemployment compensation law to include a provision for: (1) auditing programs that identify employers that have not registered under the state law or that are paying unreported compensation where the effect is to exclude employees from unemployment compensation coverage, and (2) establishing administrative penalties for misclassifying employees or paying unreported unemployment compensation to employees.

Requires any office, administration, or division of the Department of Labor to report any misclassification of an employee by a person subject to the FLSA that it discovers to the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Authorizes the WHD to report such information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

S.1706
Latest Title: Fair Playing Field Act of 2013
Sponsor: Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] (introduced 11/14/2013)      Cosponsors (9)
Latest Major Action: 11/14/2013 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.


SUMMARY AS OF:
11/14/2013–Introduced.

Fair Playing Field Act of 2013 – Amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the classification of workers for employment tax purposes, to: (1) repeal the prohibition against issuance of regulations and guidance by the Secretary of the Treasury on workers’ employment tax status (i.e., as an employee or as an independent contractor) enacted by the Revenue Act of 1978; (2) direct the Secretary to issue regulations and other guidance to clarify the proper employment status of workers for employment tax purposes; (3) prohibit a retroactive assessment of employment tax, except with respect to certain skilled workers, for tax periods after December 31, 1978, and before a specified reclassification date for worker misclassifications, unless the taxpayer had no reasonable basis for not treating a worker as an employee; (4) require taxpayers who hire independent contractors on a regular and ongoing basis to provide such contractors with notice of their federal tax obligations, the labor and employment law protections that do not apply to them, and their right to seek a status determination from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and (5) eliminate reduced penalty provisions for failure to withhold income taxes for taxpayers who lack a reasonable basis for treating a worker as other than an employee (i.e., as an independent contractor).

Provides that for purposes of determining whether a registered representative of a securities broker-dealer is an employee for employment tax purposes, no weight shall be given to instructions from a service recipient which are imposed only in compliance with investor protection standards. Makes this rule applicable to services performed by a broker-dealer after December 31, 1997.

Sandy Cleanup Workers Treated as Independent Contractors

Long Island Newsday reports that three men employed to assist with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup were misclassified as independent contractors.  New York State labor laws specify that “labors, mechanics, and workers” are entitled to prevailing wages and misclassification as an independent contractor allows employers to get around paying prevailing wages.  To read more, click here.

Business Owners Receive Prison Time for Workers’ Comp Fraud

Ohio business owners, Michelle Scaggs and Frederick Diebert were sentenced to two and half years in prison and ordered to pay more then $200,000 in restitution after being convicted of workers’ compensation fraud.  The judge commented on the defendants lack of remorse during the sentencing portion of the trial.  To read more, click here.