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Misclassified construction workers may lose out on wages, benefits

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Blog, Employment law

If you work in construction, you may have signed an independent contractor agreement with your employer. Unfortunately, construction companies sometimes misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying a fair wage and get out of providing employee benefits.

Not only is worker misclassification illegal, but it may also be cheating you and your family out of needed income, employment protections and worker benefits.

The Fair Play Act sets rules for worker classification

New York’s Construction Industry Fair Play Act tries to protect workers from misclassification by setting clear standards for who is and is not an employee. Regardless of your work contract, the law considers you an employee unless your job meets all three of the following criteria:

  1. You have an independently established business or trade
  2. You provide services outside the scope of work your company typically handles
  3. You are free to control and direct your efforts while performing your job

Why is correct classification important?

If the law considers you an employee but you are working as an independent contractor, you may be missing out on important benefits. In addition to wage protections and overtime pay, as an employee, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

According to the New York Department of Labor, between 15 and 25% of constructions workers in the state may be misclassified as independent contractors. If you believe your employer has incorrectly classified you, know that you may be able to challenge your worker status to receive important protections and benefits.