Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson Urges Colleagues to Pass the Payroll Fraud Protection Act of 2015 to Protect America’s Workers’ Labor Rights and Workplace Protections
Today, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), ranking member on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, introduced as an amendment H.R. 3427, the Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2015, during an Education and Workforce Committee markup hearing.
Rep. Wilson introduced the legislation to counter an attempt by House Republicans to pass a bill that would narrow the definition of “joint employer” and make it harder for employees to collectively bargain. The underlying bill, H.R. 3459, is part of the alarming workplace trend of employers using unscrupulous practices to shirk their responsibilities to deny workers a slew of federally guaranteed rights and benefits.
The Payroll Fraud Prevention Act would require employers to accurately classify their workers and provide employees with notice of that classification. Misclassification allows employers to deny workers the pay, benefits, and labor rights they deserve, including minimum wage, overtime pay, and family and medical leave.
“Employers who misclassify their workers use one of these unscrupulous practices by ignoring any current or prosed definition of employee, thereby stripping workers of their rights,” Rep. Wilson said. “I represent one of the most economically depressed districts in the country, so believe me when I tell you that it is disgraceful to attempt to strip millions of hard-working Americans of their existing labor rights, many of which are in dire need of an update.”
During the Working Families Day of Action hosted by Democratic lawmakers on October 27, former bricklayer, Marvin Monge, shared how an employer forced him to accept cash payments and was lax about safety precautions. When Marvin expressed concerns about workplace safety, the employer said that he and his co-workers were “subcontractors” and then fired him.
“Independent contractors are not covered under NLRA, making misclassification another tool used to stifle workers’ voices,” said Rep. Wilson, who urged the committee to work to pass the Payroll Fraud Prevention Act. “Even if we win the battles to raise the minimum wage, strengthen unions and secure more family friendly policies, it means nothing if employers can simply strip workers of these rights with a simple 1099 tax form.”