AG: Company failed to pay correct wages at Bresnahan, other public works jobs

Bresnahan School one of public works projects involved

Staff Reports
July 13, 2017

NEWBURYPORT – A New Hampshire construction company was fined more than $160,000 in restitution and penalties for failing to properly pay employees on nine public works projects, including Bresnahan Elementary School, the attorney general said Wednesday.

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office issued three citations against Northeast Partition Specialties Inc. and owner Fredrick Breth for their failure to pay the prevailing wage, pay overtime and submit accurate certified payroll records for the projects done in 2014-15.

“Companies that do business in Massachusetts must play by the rules,” Healey said. “Prevailing wage laws are intended to ensure a level playing field for companies and provide a real, living wage to workers.”

Northeast is a small, privately held corporation in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The Attorney General’s Office began an investigation of the company after the Fair Labor Division received a complaint from a former employee claiming he was not paid the prevailing wage rate for two public works projects between April 2015 and September 2015.

The investigation found that Northeast failed to pay the proper prevailing wage rate to 27 employees for these public works projects: Staff Sergeant James J. Hill School, Revere; Bresnahan Elementary School, Newburyport; the Acushnet police facility; the Chelmsford Fire Department; Dracut Town Hall; the Sudbury Police Department; Park Avenue Elementary, Webster; West Bridgewater Middle-Senior High School; and the Westborough Fire Department.

Under the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law, contractors and subcontractors working on public projects must pay their employees a special minimum wage, which is based on the occupational classification for the type of work the employees perform.

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New Study: Prevailing Wage Law Would Boost New Hampshire Jobs, the State Economy, and In-State Contractors

January 14, 2016
A new study released today by leading national researchers on the construction industry finds that a proposed New Hampshire prevailing wage law would boost the state economy by at least $300 million, create several thousand jobs, and increase state and local tax revenue by up to $17 million.

The report, published by the Keystone Research Center (KRC), an independent non-partisan economic policy group, was released in advance of hearings in Concord next week on the proposed prevailing wage law. New Hampshire is the only state in New England and the Northeast that does not have such a law.

The study uses a growing body of peer reviewed research, data from the Economic Census of Construction, and industry-standard IMPLAN software to analyze the impact of prevailing wage standards for skilled construction industry trades on the New Hampshire economy as a whole and on construction workers’ wages, benefits and reliance on taxpayer-funded public benefit programs.

(PDF of Press Release)

(PDF Copy of Full Study)

Feds join N.H. worker misclassification efforts

BY BOB SANDERS
Published: November 17, 2014

The federal government is getting involved in helping New Hampshire in its enforcement efforts against misclassification of independent contractors, especially when it relates to workers’ compensation.

New Hampshire last week became the 15th state to join the federal Labor Department’s misclassification initiative; Massachusetts followed suit on Monday.

“Misclassification of workers steals benefits and protections from employees and allows unfair advantages to businesses that do it,” said New Hampshire Labor Commissioner James W. Craig. “This agreement will help us grow our state and regional economy by leveling the playing field for honest and law-abiding employers.”

New Hampshire has grappled with the murky world of independent contractor classification for decades. Definitions change depending on the law involved, and enforcement is uneven.

The state Department of Employment Security, for instance, has found misclassification in nearly a quarter of the audits it conducts. But the state Department of Labor only has fined a fraction of those fined by the Employment Security and has drastically reduced most of the fines imposed.

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US Labor Department signs agreement with New Hampshire Department of Labor to reduce misclassification of employees

WHD News Release: [11/12/2014]

WASHINGTON – Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the New Hampshire Department of Labor  has signed a memorandum of understanding with the goal of protecting the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than employees, such as independent contractors or other nonemployee statuses.

Under this agreement, both agencies will share information and coordinate law enforcement. The memorandum of understanding represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. The New Hampshire Department of Labor is the latest state agency to partner with the Labor Department.

“Misclassification of employees deprives workers of rightfully-earned wages and workplace protections and undercuts law-abiding businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Which is why combating misclassification is one of several important strategies to promote shared prosperity to help ensure that our economy works for everyone.”

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DOL Wage and Hour Division announces upcoming Prevailing Wage Seminars

The Wage and Hour Division is pleased to announce the following Prevailing Wage Seminars for 2014:
Manchester, NH March 4-6, 2014
Phoenix, AZ March 18-20, 2014
Chicago, IL April 1-3, 2014
San Diego, CA April 22-24, 2014
Houston, TX May 7-9, 2014
Atlanta, GA June 3-5, 2014

If you wish to attend one of these seminars, please send an email to WHDPWS@dol.gov Your email should include your name, title, organization, mailing address, email address, and location of the seminar that you wish to attend. There is no fee for attending any of these seminars, however, space is limited. Upon receipt of this information, we will advise you whether your request can be accommodated.

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