State leaders talk about making New Jersey more affordable, but when it comes to labor mandates, actions speak louder than words. Right now, there are several troubling labor and employment mandates advancing in the Legislature that will make this state a more costly place to run a business.
NJBIA is out front on this because burdensome and costly labor regulations hamstring the ability of businesses to operate efficiently, innovate and expand. The bills before the Legislature would, separately, impose new employee retention requirements, give unions power to bring enforcement actions on behalf of workers they do not even represent, and mandate expanded benefits for domestic workers. Although well-intended, the bills contain significant flaws that harm employers.
Employee Retention Mandates. A bill representing one of the biggest strikes against New Jersey employer rights in recent memory – even potentially landing a business owner in prison for making their own personnel decisions – is a case in point. This bill requires the retention of a wide range of service employees for 90 days after a change of ownership in their service contracts.
This proposal goes beyond previously enacted retention mandates in 2021 and 2022 affecting hotel workers and healthcare employees after the sale of an entire business. This new bill also applies to the mere change of vendors for minor service contracts and carries egregious criminal penalties for employers who do not properly retain workers who were never theirs in the first place.
Giving Union Enforcement Powers. This bill would allow labor unions to act in the place of the Department of Labor by bringing forward wage and hour violation suits on behalf of workers that they do not represent. Giving private unions enforcement authority is inappropriate and will increase litigation for construction industry employers.
Expanded Benefits for Domestic Workers. This bill goes far beyond ensuring domestic workers are afforded the same protections as other workers. It includes break time and termination notification requirements that other workers do not have, and it will overburden employers in our care economy. This bill also includes joint and several liability for individuals and employers with overlapping relationships with a domestic worker that could leave employers liable for issues out of their control. The bill also changes the definition of casual work in the state workers’ compensation law, impacting the overall workers’ compensation system.
It is easy to “talk the talk” about making New Jersey more affordable, but we must also walk the talk. NJBIA is ready to work with legislators to address labor and employment concerns in ways that will not overburden the business community.
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