Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recent press regarding need to change the MA Independent Contract Statute

Here are URLs for four recent articles from the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald, the Worcester Business Journal and CFO Magazine that focus on the need to change the MA independent contractor statute

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/print-edition/2011/12/09/critics-want-contractor-law-made.html?surround=etf&ana=e_article (This article requires a subscription to see the entire article. Send a comment with you email, and I can forward the entire article to you.)




Sunday, November 6, 2011


Urgent call for written testimony in support of any of the following bills that will amend the Independent Contractor Law: Senate Bill S00957/House Bill H01412 or House Bill 2874, An Act Relative to Independent Contractors.

On November 3rd there was a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Work Force Development on the 3 bills noted above. There were a total of 43 bills being heard at this hearing, but by far the most testimony concerned the Independent Contractor Law. Testimony included both proponents of a change as well as opponents. The following article is a good summary of the testimony:

We need to generate as much written testimony in favor of these bills as possible by November 8th. Please take the time to send in testimony and ask other Massachusetts residents to do so as well. For more information on these two bills and the reasons we need to change a 2004 law governing independent contractors/freelancers in our state, see the prior postings on this blog.

Please send in written testimony in support of these bills to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development- email address: Kate.Flanagan@Mahouse.gov by November 8th (Kate is the staffer who will make sure all the committee members get a copy of your testimony). You should also send copies of your testimony to your own Senator and Representative.

Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

IC Hearing Scheduled for Nov. 3rd

The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce will hear the 4 bills listed in the Sept. 12, 2011 posting on November 3, 2011 at 10:30 in Room A1. This date is not actually confirmed (that doesn't happen until the day before), but it is quite probable. Sign-in for testifying starts at 10AM. If you wish to testify you should be there around 10 to get on the list. The current room number A1 could be changed, if there are a lot of people attending the hearing. This is our chance to be heard on this important issue, so please plan to attend. Note that there will be several other bills heard at the same time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oct. 6 Joint Comm. on Labor and Workforce Development Hearing postponed

The October 6th hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development regarding changes to the Independent Contractor law has been postponed. It is supposed to be rescheduled for another date in October. We will keep you posted.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New non-profit coalition working on IC legislation

A new non-profit coalition is working on the Independent Contractor Legislation, and they asked us to post the following. Note that the hearing may be sooner than Oct. 6th. We will keep you posted.

On October 6th, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will be holding a hearing on the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law. In preparation for this legislative hearing, New Jobs for Massachusetts, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit, pro-job growth advocacy organization, is forming a panel of speakers who are willing to share their personal stories with the legislative committee.

NJFM is seeking to bring together freelancers and independent contractors from a broad spectrum of industries to illustrate how far-reaching and devastating this legislation has been.

NJFM believes that the legislation was not intended to be so all-encompassing, and thus we are asking the legislators to look at the true intent of the legislation and repair the law so thousands of individuals can return to work, and businesses can conduct their business in a way that makes sense for them.

As it stands, Massachusetts' law on independent contractors is the strictest of its kind in the country, and it has suppressed the creation of literally tens of thousands of jobs here in Massachusetts.

NJFM is part of a one-issue coalition that includes organizations and professionals such as Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), experienced employment attorneys, and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM).

NJFM pledges to provide complete support to all panelists, including helping them prepare for the hearing and reviewing testimony. It is important that the legislators hear from “real people” with personal stories of hardship as a result of this legislation.

If making your voice heard on this issue appeals to you, please reach NJFM at any of the following:

NJFM office phone: (978) 263-3429
Mike Hruby, President: mike@newmassjobs.com
Christine Doucette, Analyst: christine@newmassjobs.com

We also have a website if you are interested in learning more about our organization and the work we are doing: www.newmassjobs.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, September 12, 2011


After some last minute activity to change the Independent Contractor law in the last Legislative session, which went down to the wire, it was not heard, in part because of the Casino bill. This year there seems to be more interest in fixing the Independent Contractor law, because the legislature knows this law needs to be fixed.

Look through this blog for a summary of what happened during the last legislative session.

This Legislative session there are 4 bills that have been proposed to fix the situation.

H01412: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H01412 (click link to see information on this bill)

S00957: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/Senate/S00957

H02784: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H02874

H02298: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H02298

There are problems with each of these bills, but they will serve as a starting point for any discussion.

H01412 and S00957 are essentially the same bills. They are similar to what was defeated last session.

H02784 has some good wording, so this could be the best starting point.

H02298 is not sufficient, as it will not work for all Independent Contractors, e.g. those who need to ‘go to the place of business of the enterprise’ for whatever reason.

These bills will be heard by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, who will give a reading on them to the Legislature. The hearing is scheduled for October 6, 10:30-1, Room 81 (NOTE that this is a change). There are several activities we should each undertake.

If possible, plan to attend the hearing. In the last session, we had a large turnout at the hearing, and we weren’t even organized. This really had an impact on the committee.

If you are comfortable, you should plan to give verbal testimony, which you should also leave with the committee as written testimony. Consider organizing yourselves into panels of 3 or 4 people, so things will move along more quickly. If you aren’t comfortable giving verbal testimony or you are not able to be at the hearing, you should send in written testimony to the committee.

You should be contacting all members of the committee, as listed below, to let them know of your concern with this issue. Contact your own State Senator and Representative as well. You can e-mail them or just make a phone call, although e-mail is probably best, if there is time.

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development:

Daniel A. Wolf, Senate Chair, (Dem. Harwich): 617-722-1570, Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov
Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera, House Chair (Dem. Springfield): 617-722-2014, Cheryl.Coakley-Rivera@mahouse.gov
Michael J. Rodrigues Senate Vice Chair (Dem., Westport): 617-722-1114, Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov
Lori A. Ehrlich, House Vice Chair (Dem. Marblehead): 617-722-2014, Lori.Ehrlich@mahouse.gov

Senate Members:
Barry R. Finegold, (Dem. Andover): 617-722-1612, Barry.Finegold@MASenate.gov
Michael F. Rush, (Dem. West Roxbury): 617-722-1348 , Mike.Rush@masenate.gov
Sal N. DiDomenico, (Dem. Everett): 617-722-1650, Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov
Robert L. Hedlund (Rep. Weymouth): 617-722-1646, Robert.Hedlund@masenate.gov

House Members:
John H. Rogers (Dem. Norwood): 617-722-2092, John.Rogers@mahouse.gov
John P. Fresolo (Dem. Worcester): 617-722-2240, John.Fresolo@mahouse.gov
Linda Dean Campbell, (Dem. Methuen): 617-722-2877,
Denise Andrews (Dem. Orange): 617-722-2460, Denise.Andrews@mahouse.gov
Ryan C. Fattman (Rep. Sutton): 617-722-2460, Ryan.Fattman@mahouse.gov
Demetrius J. Atsalis (Dem. Barnstable): 617-722-2080, Demetrius.Atsalis@mahouse.gov
David M. Torrisi (Dem. North Andover): 617-722-2396, David.Torrisi@mahouse.gov
James Arciero (Dem. Westford): 617-722-2320, James.Arciero@mahouse.gov
Shelia C. Harrington, (Rep. Groton): 617-722-2305, sheila.harrington@mahouse.gov
Of the 17 committee members listed above, only 5 were on the committee last session, namely Senator Hedlund and Representatives Coakley-Rivera, Rogers, Fresola, and Arciero. As a result, we need the committee to learn about how this law has affected us.

To find your own Representative or Senator go to:
Enter your address to find the name of your Rep. and Senator. Click on their names to get their contact information. Some of these legislators might be new as well.

Also consider writing letters to the Editor of your local newspapers or trying to have a story written on this issue and how it has affected you specifically. We had some great press on this last year (as noted in this blog), which was a help.

We will keep you posted as we hear more about this issue.

By the way, if you haven’t already signed our Petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fix-the-massachusetts-freelancer-law/, please go to this site and sign it.

Friday, July 30, 2010


In addition to contacting your Representative to show your support for HB 4944, please contact the Governor, your State Senator, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House to ask them to support HB4944. Please also ask them to amend S678(see below) with the language from HB 4944, as the language of S678 does not completely fix the issues that impact us.

To Contact the Governor:
Phone: 617.725.4005 or 888.870.7770 (in state)
Fax: 617.727.9725

To contact the Senate President Therese Murray:
Phone: 617-722-1500
Email: Therese.Murray@state.ma.us"

To contact the Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo:
Phone: 617-722-2500
Email: Robert.DeLeo@state.ma.us

We have just over 24 hours to do this. Both the House and Senate will be in session tonight, tomorrow, and probably into tomorrow night- so you can call their offices and send emails urging them to do the above.

To watch them on your computer:

Senate: http://masslegislature.tv/?l=sen_video
House: http://masslegislature.tv/?l=hse_video

The following is Information on S678 amendment by Senator McGee:

On July 28th, Senator McGee amended S678 with the basic language from HB 4748 with some additions. This language, like HB 4748, falls short of fixing the unintended consequences befalling many freelancers in all disciplines. (Basically the new redraft is MCGee's Senate Budget Amendment #260). A call of the yeas and nays was ordered on the adoption of the amendment. This means they did not record how the Senators voted- who voted or how many voted for this amendment. WE HAVE NO PUBLIC RECORD ON THEIR VOTES.

The new language (and the above info is from http://www.mass.gov/legis/senate/calendar.htm SECTION[S. 678]
Bill relative to uniform wage compliance and recordkeeping (Senate, No. 678). [Question on engrossment.] [McGee.] 147I INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS
[Mr. McGee moved to amend the pending amendment (Tisei) by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-By striking inserting before section 1 the following section:-

“SECTION 1A. Chapter 149 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 147H the following section:-

Section 147I. (a) An individual whose work is performed solely in the individual’s place of residence shall be exempt from the requirements of clause (2) of subsection
(a) of section 148B of chapter 149, but not clause (1) or clause (3) of said subsection (a) of said section 148B of said chapter 149. This section does not apply to other persons who work with or for the individual.

(b) The exception provided in paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply to an individual who has been coerced, threatened or intimidated into establishing an independent business nor shall it apply to individuals who telecommute or work remotely from home.

(c) Each individual seeking this exemption shall register with the state secretary and such registration shall be issued without a fee. The registration shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:(i) name of the individual seeking the exemption; (ii) the nature of the independently established business; (iii) the address of the residence at which the work is performed; and (iv) proof that the address listed is the applicant's legal residence.The state secretary shall issue regulations necessary to ensure registration under this section. The application for registration shall be typewritten, printed or in such other form as the state secretary shall prescribe. The application for registration shall be executed by the individual seeking the exemption. The registration shall be renewed every 3 years.”


We are in the home stretch. Call your Representative immediately to support House Bill 4944 or any other bill that incorporates the language of this bill. See the text here. See side bar for information on how to find your Representative's phone number. This Bill can come up for a vote at any time today (7/30) or tomorrow (7/31), before the end of the Legislative session. Keep checking this blog to find out when you should contact your Senator.

Next week please call Rep. Charles Murphy's office (617-722-2990) to thank him. He is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who put out this bill and is showing his strong support.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


The Boston Globe published an editorial today (Sat., July 17th) calling on the Legislature to amend the Independent Contractor law. Read the editorial here. Great job by the Globe, once again.

There is still time to get the current Independent Contractor law changed, but the Legislature has to know that this is an IMPORTANT issue. See our July 13th post regarding HB4748. There is talk of changing the HB4748 language to make it broader. Contact your Representatives and the House Ways and Means Committee immediately, so they will know how many MA residents the current law is affecting. The July 13th post gives the necessary contact information.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Action Needed on Independent Contractor Bill 4748

Although there are only a little over 2 weeks left in this year’s legislative session, there is still a chance that HB4748 to amend the Independent Contractor law (see June 21st post) will come up for discussion before the House Ways and Means committee and even make it to the floor for a vote. Several of us have been talking to various offices of this committee, and it is clear that at least some of the Reps. want to change the language to make it more encompassing. Our job is to make sure that this bill is on everyone’s radar and to explain to them whether the current bill will work for you or not. H4748 is better than the current law, but it will still severely limit people from being able to legally get work. It allows an exemption only for freelancers who work at home and there are plenty of freelancers who don’t fit this category. You can explain that there must be a bill that can be written that protects workers from being misclassified, while not preventing legitimate freelancers from making a living.

Please contact the members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Find their contact information
here. If at all possible, please try to contact each member, particularly the Chairs, as well as the Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, 617-722-2500, Robert.DeLeo@State.MA.US and as your own Representative (see sidebar for contact information). A phone call or an email will work. Doing both will have even more impact. It is important for each member to know the effect the current legislation has had on you. They will not realize the importance of this bill if they do not hear from many of us.

The bottom line is that unless this law is fixed:
Massachusetts residents are specifically being unfairly prohibited from earning a living in already tough economic times.
Massachusetts is losing out on tax revenue from these earnings.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Listen to or read WBUR story on Independent Contractors

WBUR had a great story on the Independent Contractor law today (6/29/2010). Here's a link to the story, which you can either read or listen to:

You can also make a comment on the story if you wish to do so. There was an error when it said that Senator McGee's amendement didn't make it out of committee. It did, and it is now HB4748 as noted in a previous post.

Monday, June 21, 2010


In case you missed it, take a look at the Independent Contractor Story here that aired on WGBH on June 21. Great job by WGBH!