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Task Force Responsible for Recovering $56M in Misclassified Back Wages Gets Stronger in MA

Gov. Deval Patrick, bad employer destroyer.Six years after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick created the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy (JTF) via executive order, the highly successful program will become statute thanks to language in the state’s newly enacted minimum wage law.  

Recent reports show that in 2013 alone the JTF recovered $15.6 million in back wages, unemployment insurance premiums, penalties and fines following over one thousand investigations. Since its inception, the JTF has recovered over $56 million.  

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) Secretary Rachel Kaprielian said in a statement:

“Companies and individuals who willfully avoid the law by misclassifying employees … or engage in fraudulent employment practices of the underground economy put workers’ safety at risk, place legitimate businesses at a disadvantage and burden taxpayers.”

A new council will take the reigns from the JTF, adding eight agencies to those that have been on board since 2008. Gov. Patrick is currently in the process of selecting these new agencies. The new council will be chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development and will have broadened powers. According to the new statute, the council has the authority to “educate business owners about the law, to conduct targeted investigations, and to take enforcement actions through multiple agencies. Its stated goals are to protect workers’ rights and ensure fair competition. The Council also clearly aims at helping the government increase collections of various tax-related assessments.”

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