Today's News / Government Regulations / Occupational Safety

DOL to study job misclassification

January 29, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

warehouseIn a move that could impact worker health and safety, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will launch a $1.9 million study on job misclassification.

“The misclassification of employees as something other than employees, such as independent contractors, presents a serious problem for affected employees, employers, and to the entire economy,” according to the DOL. “Misclassified employees are often denied access to critical benefits and protections – such as family and medical leave, overtime, minimum wage and unemployment insurance – to which they are entitled. Employee misclassification also generates substantial losses to the Treasury and the Social Security and Medicare funds, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers compensation funds.”

The use of contract companies has not exempted the users from scrutiny – and in some case, legal action -- in a number of worker safety cases. Target is the target of complaints filed with OSHA over workers who were employed by a third party being locked in overnight while cleaning Target stores in Minneapolist.  

Workplace safety and health hazards have been an ongoing concern among California’s warehouse workers, who move products that are sold at Target, WalMart and Footlocker. Those retailers, however, are shielded from legal exposure by layers of intermediary companies.

In the DOL study, more than 10,000 workers and 20 executives will be interviewed to determine how much workers understand about their own job classification and their related rights and benefits. The Labor Department defines a misclassification as the practice, intended or unintended, of improperly treating a worker who is an employee as something other than an employee, such as an independent contractor.

In September 2011, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Under this agreement, the agencies will work together and share information to reduce the incidence of misclassification of employees, to help reduce the tax gap, and to improve compliance with federal labor laws.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates more than $2.7 billion in Social Security, unemployment insurance and income tax is lost per year due to misclassification of workers.

According to one estimate cited by the Labor Department, for every 1 percent of employees who are misclassified, $200 million is lost annually in unemployment insurance revenue.

The DOL set a March 12 deadline for comments on the planned study.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN1014_cover.jpg

2014 October

This issue features articles about PPE safety and OSHA standards

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.