The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has launched a statewide public awareness campaign about worker misclassification.
The campaign, which will place transportation billboards, digital ads and radio spots in markets across Pennsylvania, is geared to help employers and employees know when a worker can be classified as an independent contractor and when he or she cannot.
Kathy Manderino, secretary of the department, said worker misclassification can occur when employers treat employees as independent contractors when they should be treated as full employees.
She said this may be done to reduce payroll and other costs.
“Some also may just not realize the difference and be unknowingly doing something that is incorrect,” said Sara Goulet, department communication director.
But, she said, when a worker is misclassified, that can withhold rights that an individual would have if he or she was qualified as an employee.
“Worker misclassification is a nationwide problem that has a negative impact on Pennsylvania’s economy and unemployment compensation fund,” Manderino said. “It creates an uneven playing field for employers who properly classify their workers.”
She said better understanding the distinctions of the two designations will help employers properly classify personnel and will help workers understand if they have been misclassified and what to do about it.
“Our goal for this campaign is to educate workers and employers about the important differences between an employee and a contractor,” she said.
Anyone with questions on worker classification can contact the department at 1-866-403-6163 or go to the website at www.getclassified.pa.gov.
The campaign was funded by a $473,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.