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July 5, 2011 > Bill protecting workers and their rights advances in Assembly

Bill protecting workers and their rights advances in Assembly

Submitted By Teala Schaff

Legislation by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro) that protects workers by prohibiting their misclassification as an independent contractor, an arrangement that allows employers to dodge standard labor laws, passed the Assembly Labor Committee on June 23, 2011, on a 4-2 vote.

In addition to costing workers vital benefits and protections, misclassification of employees also costs the state of California an estimated $7 billion in lost payroll tax revenue. As an independent contractor, a worker is not subject to a whole host of regulations, such as minimum wage, overtime protection, workers' compensation, family leave and unemployment.

"Misclassification hurts unsuspecting employees and employers who are doing the right thing," Corbett said. "These bad actors must be held accountable so we can adequately protect workers and provide the state the revenues it deserves."

Senate Bill 459 prohibits the willful misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor by a consultant or an employer. The bill also requires employers to provide independent contractors with information about their classification. The legislation, supported by labor groups throughout the state, goes next to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

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