New Jersey lawmakers will take a little more time on a hotly contested gig workers’ rights bill, but just how long depends on who you ask.
The delay comes as
“That bill has now been put on hold as of late yesterday,”
Legislation pending in both chambers of the Statehouse would codify a 2015 state supreme court decision that makes it difficult for ride-hail, online platform, and other companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. A Senate version that would have tightened the standard even further to track a controversial new law in California has since been amended, Senate President
Sweeney, the legislation’s lead sponsor, said he’s still working to try to get the measure passed before the end of the session. He said the only delay is that lawmakers pushed back a previous plan to schedule a vote on Dec. 16, in order to review testimony from a recent hearing on the legislation.
A coalition of gig employers, which recently pledged $110 million in support of a ballot initiative to shield them from the California law, is now pushing a ballot initiative there to exempt online platforms that connect workers with customers. The businesses also are fighting worker misclassification lawsuits in New Jersey, California, and other states across the country.
The Garden State is going after Uber and an affiliate for what the New Jersey labor department says is $650 million in unpaid employment taxes. Sweeney pointed out that the New Jersey law would simply cement the approach that the department and courts in the state already have been taking.
“This is the law right now,” Sweeney said. “If you’re concerned about this it is probably because you are already breaking the law.”