The Limousine Associations of New Jersey will hold a session open to operators throughout the Eastern seaboard to detail the latest rules affecting ICs, OT, and unemployment compensation.
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A LIMOUSINE ASSOCIATIONS OF NEW JERSEY luncheon meeting next Wednesday, May 19 will outline changes in key rules affecting how employees are classified and paid.
The presentation, to include a guest speaker from the New Jersey Department of Labor, is designed to help operators understand the latest changes and compliance expectation in three key areas: 1) classification of independent contractor employees; 2) overtime wage rules; 3) unemployment compensation rules.
Since New Jersey rules closely resemble those of many other neighboring states, and since New Jersey operators and those of other states do business across multiple state lines, LANJ has invited operators from associations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and the New England states to attend the informational/Q&A session.
The session is being held amid an increasingly regulatory environment spurred by state and federal government departments intent on more aggressively enforcing labor laws and wage rules. Businesses nationwide can expect to see more frequent government audits of their wage and employee records.
“We’re going to lay out all of the specific requirements and compliance issues that the industry is facing,” said LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz. “The biggest crackdown has been on ICs, and once you fall out of compliance with the ICs, then you fall out of compliance with OT and unemployment compensation.”
Lefkowitz relayed incidents in which one chauffeured transportation company was fined and assessed $2.3 million in back wages and compliance costs that was negotiated down to $200,000, and another New Jersey operator who was faced with a $189,000 back tab and fines that was taken down to $48,000 payable in 24 monthly installments. In both cases, the operators were in compliance with the IRS but ran afoul of state laws.
“The state departments of labor are becoming far more aggressive than the feds,” Lefkowitz said. Even if an operator complies with federal rules, that does not necessarily guarantee dual compliance with stricter state rules, he said.
Lefkowitz also underscored the fact that the increasing number of audits is not all driven by governments seeking more revenues during a recession; many of the New Jersey state inquiries and audits have been happening since 2004.
“The overall philosophy has become more pro-driver than pro-business over time,” Lefkowitz said of New Jersey state rules.
A lobbyist for the NLA recently made the added point that labor unions are influencing the Democratic-led federal government to seek out more ICs that can be classified as W-2 wage employees. Through their political activism and donor largesse, unions traditionally have had longstanding power over the formation and enforcement of government wage and labor rules.
In some cases, companies get caught making mistakes because of faulty accounting, Lefkowitz said. He urged operator to make sure any hired accountants are experienced and well-versed on the latest wage and labor laws that govern the chauffeured transportation industry.
Natural Gas Vehicles Offer
VEHICLE PRODUCTION GROUP (VPG), partially owned by T. Boone Pickens, will make a special presentation of its new compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for limousine and taxi use. Pickens and VPG Autos are offering any company that buys 25 VPG vehicles free installation of a natural gas station on the buyer’s property.
VPG will hold an invitation only session from 10 a.m. to Noon for operators with fleets of 50 vehicles or more, and then hold a general session for all operators at 2 p.m., following the luncheon wage and labor session.
The LANJ luncheon meeting will be held Wednesday, May 19 at Noon in Saloon E at the East Brunswick Hilton in East Brunswick, N.J. just off Exit 9 of the New Jersey Turnpike. About 125-200 attendees are expected. VPG and Solveras are co-sponsors.
LIMOUSINE ASSOCIATIONS OF NEW JERSEY WEB SITE
— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine