New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Calls on Murphy Admin to End Attacks on Freelancers & the Media

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Local Publisher Set to Reduce Community Coverage After Being Fined by State for Using Independent Contractors

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called on the Murphy Administration to end its attacks on independent contractors and the media after the Westfield Leader was fined for not classifying freelance reporters and photographers as employees.

Sen. Tom Kean called on the Murphy Administration to end its attacks on independent contractors and the media after the Westfield Leader was fined for not classifying freelance reporters and photographers as employees. (©iStock)

“Many people choose to freelance for a variety of reasons, and those self-employed individuals make it possible for small media outlets like the Westfield Leader to offer comprehensive coverage of local government meetings, school sports, and community events,” said Kean. “Unfortunately, the Westfield Leader has been forced to end its freelance program completely after being fined by the Murphy Administration. I’d like for Governor Murphy to explain to the Leader’s many former contributors how his assault on the company that paid them has improved their situation or that of the community they proudly served. This is a clear example of how the Governor’s flawed labor policies will hurt New Jersey families and further erode a media industry that is already struggling to survive.”

According to the Westfield Leader, it was forced to end its freelance program after the New Jersey Department of Labor fined the paper’s publisher going back to 2015 for not treating freelance reporters and photographers as employees.

Under the Governor’s direction, the State has fined a variety of businesses and services, including Uber, that have allowed freelancers and independent contractors the freedom to work when they want and the opportunity to earn extra income at their own pace.

Kean has been a vocal opponent of efforts by Democrats in the Legislature to codify through S-4204 the Murphy Administration’s treatment of independent contractors as employees under State law.

“Some people have a full-time job and want the opportunity to freelance to earn extra income to support their families, and others have caregiver responsibilities that prevent them from working traditional 9 to 5 jobs,” added Kean. “In 2020, we shouldn’t limit people’s ability to work based on some outdated 1950s mentality of what a job should be. Governor Murphy should stop denying the overtaxed people of New Jersey any opportunity to work.”

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