The Independent Bakers Association testified before the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee in Trenton yesterday regarding Senate bill S4204. Of the more than 25 individuals who provided testimony at the hearing, IBA's witness was the lone speaker on behalf of the wholesale baking industry supply chain. In its testimony, IBA expressed support for a proposed amendment to the "B" prong of the bill's "ABC" test for employment classification, which already appears in Assembly bill A5936.
The "B" prong amendment allows for workers to be categorized as independent contractors if their "service is performed outside of all the places of business of the employer for which the service is performed" and the other two prongs are satisfied. A number of states, including Massachusetts, have interpreted the clause to cover independent wholesale distributors of baked goods.
In addition, IBA went on-record at the hearing to urge New Jersey lawmakers to provide further clarity by expressly exempting independent wholesale distributors, whose income is derived from the resale of baked goods, from the bills. The current Assembly and Senate bills exempt accountants, agricultural workers, real estate agents, entertainers, travel agents and other industry sectors. Freelance journalists and tow-truck operators also spoke in opposition to the current bill and requested specific exemptions.
Many of the witnesses and committee members acknowledged the confusion and burden of the recent California worker classification statute, which is currently held up in litigation. Several witnesses urged the Senate to slow down the legislative process and avoid the following the same path.
IBA will continue to engage the New Jersey Senate and Assembly in support of the bakery exemption language. We will work to ensure the favorable "B" prong language is included in the final version of the bill. Please contact Nick Pyle for more details.