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A bill introduced in the New Jersey state legislature could effectively end independent contract work for many residents in the state if passed.
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced bill S4204 in early November, which proposed dramatic changes to the state employment code that would redefine many independent contractors as employees. The measure defines the change as "individuals who perform services for remuneration shall be deemed employees, not independent contractors."
Exceptions would only be made if individuals could prove that the services rendered were not supervised nor instructed, were outside of the normal scope of business, and that the service was something established as being customarily performed by the individual.
The proposed law would ostensibly protect individuals through other employment statutes, including minimum wage and unemployment tax, something independent contractors are not currently subject to. Critics of the bill, however, note the limitations it would impose on many people who work for themselves throughout the state, including construction contractors, photographers, freelance writers, and drivers for ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft.
"This bill isn’t about just Uber and Lyft," said Laurie Ehlbeck, New Jersey State director for the National Federation of Independent Business. "This dangerous legislation ties the hands of every aspiring entrepreneur in the state who owns their own company, including subcontractors with employees who sell their services to another business.
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