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CA Bill Would Pin Lost Wages on Contractors

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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A bill is sitting on California Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that will hold general contractors accountable for lost wages.

Assembly Bill 1701 was sent to the governor’s desk in September after it passed the Assembly 52-13. The bill would allow construction workers who had not been paid for a job to seek their back wages and benefits from the general contractor, even if they did not work directly for that company.

® iStock.com / pastorscott

Assembly Bill 1701 was sent to the governor’s desk in September after it passed the Assembly 52-13. The bill would allow construction workers who had not been paid for a job to seek their back wages and benefits from the general contractor, even if they did not work directly for that company.

The building industry, despite the prominent majority vote, lobbied hard against the measure, according to the Sacramento Bee, saying that it could drive up the cost of construction in the midst of California’s housing crisis, potentially forcing general contractors to pay twice for labor.

Tom Scott, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business-California, told the publication that his group would lobby for Brown to veto the bill.

“…NFIB believes that every employee should be paid what they have earned and are legally entitled to,” he said. “At the same time, we are strongly opposed to holding one business accountable for the decisions of another.”

Author of the bill, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, said he intends to put forth a follow-up bill that would remove a section that worried builders, one that they fear would hold contractors liable for further monetary damages, such as legal penalties.

“We took an additional step to clarify something that I believe was already explicit in the bill: that contractors, general contractors, would not be held responsible for any penalties that resulted from a subcontractor not paying anyone,” he said.

“It’s in everybody’s best interest to make that clear, that all we’re trying to do is protect those workers who don’t get paid.”

   

Tagged categories: Finance; General contractors; Good Technical Practice; Laws and litigation; North America

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