by Scott Braddock on Wed, 04/08/2015 – 5:46am
Over the years, the Construction Citizen team has put a bright spotlight on the myriad problems caused by worker misclassification. Those difficulties continue to mount while Texas lawmakers do very little about it, much to the frustration of ethical companies that cannot compete with cheaters, many single mothers who are denied child support payments, conservative activists upset about illegal immigration, and workers’ rights advocates who believe in a better standard of living for those who toil in the hot Texas sun.
Worker misclassification is one of the major underlying problems when it comes to fixing all those challenges.
If you’re unfamiliar, worker misclassification is a fancy term for cheating on payroll. That’s why labor activists call it “payroll fraud.” It happens when a boss pretends their worker is an “independent subcontractor” instead of an employee even when, by law, the person should be on the books as an employee. Many employers do this with the goal of avoiding payroll taxes, workers’ compensation coverage, and other benefits and protections in place when there is a true employer-employee relationship. Keep in mind that there are many legitimate uses of contract labor, but the IRS has legal definitions for who is an employee and who is a contractor.