AG Ellison kicks off new “worker misclassification” task force

At task force meeting
At task force meeting(Quinn Gorham)
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 8:14 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) – A new task force convened Wednesday for the first time in St. Paul to tackle the issue of worker misclassification. Assembled by MN Attorney General Keith Ellison, the group’s goal is to look at ways to protect workers from wrongly being labeled “independent contractors.”

“We’re trying to have a conversation about how to come up with an understanding of this issue of worker misclassification,” Ellison said as he kicked off the first meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The group consisted of lawmakers and labor force experts and aims to better understand the issue and its consequences.

“We’re going to be learning together, you’re going to be sharing what you know, from your walk of life. We’re going to be studying best practices and we’re going to dig into challenges,” Ellison said to the group.

Ultimately, the Attorney General and the rest of the group will present their findings in a report sometime next spring.

Worker misclassification is when a company wrongly identifies an employee as an independent contractor. Independent contractors don’t receive benefits like healthcare and retirement contributions, among other employment benefits.

“Misclassification denies employees access to critical benefits and protections. They’re entitled to overtime, minimum wage, and family medical leave,” Ellison said.

Representative Emma Greenman (DFL - Minneapolis), a co-chair of the task force, believes the task force could create some momentum during the upcoming 2024 legislative session.

“I think we’re gonna also be thinking about what the next couple of years look like, what some of the additional questions look like. I would like to see a legislative proposal for the next session and then some longer-term goals as we continue working on this issue,” she said.

She feels the task force represents a wide variety of perspectives and viewpoints.

“I think the idea is this is a really big problem in our economy. It’s a problem that we see a need to hear workers’ voices from. It’s a problem, we see it, and we need to hear from folks in the business community,” she said.

The taskforce will meet every few weeks, and findings will be reported next spring.

All meetings will be open to the public.