PA House passes Donahue bill to strengthen the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act

HARRISBURG, Dec. 11 – State Rep. Kyle Donahue’s bill that would strengthen the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act today passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“Our construction industry is filled with hardworking professionals,” said Donahue, D-Lackawanna. “These folks work tirelessly, every day, to build our homes, offices, hospitals, roads and other crucial infrastructure. This industry supplies over 230,000 jobs and has an economic impact of over $1 billion in Pennsylvania; however, some contractors intentionally misclassify construction workers as independent contractors.

“This misclassification cheats workers out of salaries, benefits and important worker protections like unemployment and workers’ compensation. Misclassified workers do not qualify for sick pay, are not guaranteed paid time off, and are not protected by OSHA. Despite completing the exact same work, misclassified workers receive fewer protections than properly classified workers.”

House Bill 1751 would strengthen and improve state law by increasing penalties on contractors who misclassify workers and expanding the purview of the attorney general and district attorneys to investigate and prosecute worker misclassification. In addition to increasing penalties on contractors who misclassify workers, H.B. 1751 would also permit misclassified workers to pursue a private right of action.

“Misclassifying employees as independent contractors robs workers and Pennsylvania taxpayers. Employers who misclassify their workers do so to take advantage of them, steal workers’ wages and benefits and ignore proper safety protocols and training. We must ensure working Pennsylvanians get paid what they deserve,” Donahue said.

Passing the House by a bipartisan vote of 121-82, the legislation now heads to the state Senate for consideration.