Kean: “my phone has been ringing off the hook” with independent contractor bill opposition

TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation which would effectively ban thousands of New Jersey independent contractors from working is generating a major backlash from small businesses and “gig economy” professionals in New Jersey.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21), who is also running for Congress in NJ-07 next year, says he’s hearing loads from those who will be directly impacted.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from people who are genuinely afraid of losing their livelihoods and their companies as a result of this proposed change to how independent contractors are treated under New Jersey law,” said Kean whose battleground legislative district takes in portions of Union, Somerset and Morris counties.

If the legislation is signed into law, it would ban all “individuals who perform services for remuneration” unless they clear a state-administered three-part test. Costs will soar for Uber, Lyft and Doordash customers; small businesses will also take a hit which, in turn, will hurt consumers.

The bill’s prime victims: gig economy workers whose companies will decide that converting them from 1099 contractors to W-2 employees doesn’t make mathematical/economic sense.

“Many people choose to work as independent contractors to have the freedom to work how and when they want, or to earn extra income through a side gig or hobby. There’s a real concern that many of those economic opportunities would disappear if independent contractors, who may only perform a single service or work a few hours a week or month, were required to be treated as employees with all of the resulting rules and regulations that apply to regular, full-time employees of a business,” Kean added. “For many people, this legislation will deprive them of an important choice in how they work, eliminate income-earning opportunities, and make it even harder to survive in New Jersey.”

S-4204 has been reported out by the Senate Labor Committee and may get a full vote before the current lame duck session concludes before Christmas.