In its most recent form, H.867 would redefine what makes a person a self-employed independent contractor versus an employee who enjoys protection under Vermont’s labor laws.
The most controversial part of the bill would change Vermont’s “nature of the business” or “like work” provision. Under current law, that provision means Vermont businesses are not allowed to bring on a single independent contractor or multiple independent contractors to perform work that is core to the business.
H.867 would allow companies to bring on multiple independent contractors and let them do the company’s core work without facing penalties. It would also declare that referees for sporting events could never be considered employees.
The four amendments’ sponsors and provisions are:
- Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington. The amendment would consider any people performing the same work as each other on a job site to be employees. Pearson’s amendment would levy a $5,000 fine on an employer who “coerces a prospective employee into becoming an independent contractor.”
- Rep. Johannah Donovan, D-Burlington. This amendment says a person can be considered an independent contractor only if the person carries his or her own workers’ compensation insurance.
- Rep. Susan Davis, P-Washington. Her amendment gives the Vermont attorney general the authority to investigate worker misclassification. The attorney general could prosecute under consumer protection laws and collect attorney fees.
- Rep. Oliver Olsen, I-Londonderry. This amendment would also levy a $5,000 fine on an employer who “coerces a prospective employee into becoming an independent contractor.”
Read the full story at House Commerce to consider amendments to worker bill