A delegation of PA Chamber members participated last Friday in a meeting of the PA Department of Labor and Industry’s Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees.
The Task Force was created by Act 85 of 2020 and intended to investigate and develop recommendations to address instances of unlawful misclassification of workers as independent contractors, particularly in the construction industry. A preliminary report released in March 2022, however, appeared to significantly expand the Task Force’s scope, opposing the current standard for lawful independent contractor status, including as it relates to the emerging gig economy, and recommending drastic changes to the law.
The PA Chamber and other advocates denounced the report’s recommendations and expressed concern with the process and lack of input from employers and individuals who prefer self-employment.
In response, the Task Force invited Alex Halper, PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs, to join one of its meetings and recruit Chamber members to offer their respective. Participating in the Aug. 26 meeting were Gerry Hickly, Chief Administrative Offer of PGT Trucking based in Aliquippa; Roger Baumgarten, a Harrisburg-based freelance photographer; Kelsey Desloover, Senior Policy Director for DoorDash; and Dalene Bramer, Senior Director for Global Labor and Employment for Uber.
Mr. Hickly explained that their truckdrivers have the option of employment or self-employment and their workplace splits roughly half and half – a point reaffirmed by Mr. Baumgarten who also expressed his preference to operate as an independent contractor. Ms. Desloover and Ms. Bramer provided detailed overviews of their respective companies’ operations and answered task force members questions about transparency, driver flexibility and the administrative support offered to drivers.
Halper concluded by suggesting the Task Force pivot back to its intended and widely supported mandate to address worker abuse and unlawful misclassification, particularly in the construction industry.
The Task Force is due to issue its final report in December.