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Independent contractors bill creates confusion in “gig” economy – News – New Jersey Herald

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The powerful South Jersey Democrat spoke about the bill on Thursday during a Senate Labor Committee hearing packed with freelance workers, labor leaders and business advocates. He told the lawmakers and crowd that the bill has been amended and now seeks to codify existing state labor regulations surrounding so-called independent contractors.

TRENTON — Senate President Stephen Sweeney tried to dampen some of the controversy surrounding legislation to crackdown on employers who intentionally misclassify their workers as independent contractors.

The powerful South Jersey Democrat spoke about the bill Thursday during a Senate Labor Committee hearing packed with freelance workers, labor leaders and business advocates. He told lawmakers and the crowd the bill has been amended and now seeks to codify existing state labor regulations surrounding so-called independent contractors.

An earlier version of the bill sparked widespread criticism and alarm from scores of workers and business groups, including freelance journalists, public relations and social media consultants, Uber and Lyft drivers, commercial truck drivers and nonprofit groups who feared the bill would make it impossible for companies to hire them as independent contractors.

Sweeney, D-3 of West Deptford, stressed that the bill would not change the existing regulations governing their status as freelancers but would codify those measures into law.

“It’s a pro-worker bill that simply codifies into law existing regulations that are already in place to protect workers from misclassifications. Nothing new or different from what the administration does now,” Sweeney said during the hearing. “A worker’s status as an independent contractor employee will not change as a result of this bill. The bill will continue to ensure the ability of legitimate independent contractors to continue to pursue their work at the same time it safeguards against misclassification.”

By misclassifying workers as independent contractors, businesses don’t have to provide them the same benefits as employees and also don’t have to contribute payroll taxes to the state for unemployment insurance and other protections. It’s been described as a growing problem in New Jersey and across the nation as the “gig” economy flourishes.

The issue received widespread attention last month when Bloomberg reported that New Jersey was seeking $650 million in disability and unemployment insurance payments from ride-sharing giant, Uber, arguing that its drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

A New Jersey Department of Labor audit last year found that at least 12,315 workers were misclassified, costing the state more than $13.9 million in tax payments. The audit looked at just 1% of registered employers.

“Misclassification not only hurts workers, it hurts law-abiding businesses and the state,” Sweeney said. “The businesses that don’t play by the rules aren’t paying into the unemployment fund or the disability fund, which raises costs for all other businesses. It shortchanges everyone else.”

Sweeney’s words did little to soothe the fears of scores of workers who attended the hearing, including several freelance writers, who said they were already losing work because of the threat the legislation could become law.

“We are already being blacklisted on the threat of this legislation passing,” said Kim Kavin, a freelance writer from Morris County. She said a magazine paid her $2,000 an article last year but will no longer hire her.

“You just took $2,000 an article out of my income,” she said. “This is an assault on independent contractors like us.”

All sides seem to agree that distinguishing between employees and independent contractors has become increasingly challenging.

The state regulations Sweeney referred to are known as the ABC test and gauges whether a worker is independent based on whether they are under control of their own hours and work schedule and whether they are performing work outside the employer’s usual course of business, premises or typical place of business. The third part of the test asks whether the worker is part of an independent “trade, occupation, profession or business.”

The second part of the test has garnered much of the controversy since the original version altered the definition to make clear that workers who do the work outside a company’s place of business could still be classified as employees. But one of the amendments to the bill changed the language to mirror the existing regulation.

That appeared to satisfy a representative from Rev.com, a transcription service that had suspended hiring New Jersey freelancers because of the legislation. The representative said the company still hoped for some more changes to the legislation but that the amendments laid out Thursday would be enough to lift the suspension.

Eric Richard, legislative affairs director for the New Jersey AFL-CIO, also testified in support of the measure, arguing that it was a better bill than a recent California law that opponents said has created chaos among the freelance industry there.

“I know a lot of folks think this will do away with independent contractors. It couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “What it does do is change business as usual. … If a business or corporation is misclassifying employees that should change.”

Mike Egenton, executive vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said the changes to the bill seemed to be improvements but that confusion was still rampant.

“Everything is in the eye of the beholder,” he said.

The bill was advanced from the committee by a 3-1 vote, which followed over four hours of testimony.

It was the second time the Senate committee had considered the legislation. The labor panel also voted to advance it on Nov. 14, just a week after the bill was first introduced. Sweeney and Labor Committee chair Fred Madden agreed to return it to the committee for a second hearing and vote due to the controversy and amendments.

A companion bill in the Assembly was also advanced from that chamber’s Labor Committee last month and Sweeney said the changes made to the measure on Thursday make it identical with the Assembly bill.

Both the full Assembly and Senate must still vote to approve the measure in order to send it to Murphy to consider. The governor has not publicly weighed in on the bill, but his administration has been outspoken about the need to combat employee misclassification.

Murphy convened a task force to study the issue last year that suggested fines for misclassification be increased among other recommendations.

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Novartis reshuffles its wild cards; Tough sell for Biogen? Googling proteins; Ken Frazier’s new gig; and more – Endpoints News

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Always remember just how risky it is to gamble big on small studies.

A little more than 4 years ago, Novartis reportedly put up a package worth up to $1 billion for the dry eye drug ECF843 after a small biotech called Lubris put it through its paces in a tiny study of 40 moderate to severe patients, tracking some statistically significant markers of efficacy.

By last fall, the program had risen up to become one of CEO Vas Narasimhan’s top “wild card” programs in line for a potential breakthrough year in 2021. These drugs were all considered high-risk, high-reward efforts. And in this case, risk won.

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Global Gig Economy and Sharing Economy Market 2021 Growth Factors | Strategic Analysis | Increasing Demand With Top Key Players

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DZS Debuts Latest Innovations including Cloud Analytics Demo and XCelerate by DZS 10 Gig Combo Access Solutions at Fiber Connect 2021

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DZS Cloud Service Management Intelligence demonstration combines advanced connected premises and network operations analytics supported by an open, cloud native architecture

PLANO, Texas, July 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — DZS (NASDAQ: DZSI), a global leader in optical and packet-based mobile transport, broadband connectivity and software defined networking solutions, today announced plans to demonstrate its latest innovations at Fiber Connect 2021 Conference & Exhibition, taking place July 25-28, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Visitors to DZS booth #215 will be able to see and interact with DZS hardware and software solutions from across the company’s technology pillars – Orchestration and Analytics, Mobile Transport, Broadband Connectivity, and Edge Access. Highlights include live demonstrations of DZS Cloud Service Management Intelligence, a first glimpse of the company’s big data analytics system with a cloud native architecture that monitors and provides advanced quality-of-service and issue resolution insights into the connected home correlated with access and aggregation networks. A full array of the recently announced DZS XCelerate line of 10 gig-class fiber access cards and systems will also be on display. The DZS Velocity, DZS Chronos, DZS Helix, and DZS Cloud solutions portfolios continue to expand, and the company is proud to be able share its innovations on the Fiber Connect 2021 Expo show floor.

In addition to the live product displays and demonstrations taking place at the DZS booth, Eric Wulfsberg, Senior Director, Product Line Management, Edge Access at DZS, will be presenting in person on Sunday July 25 at 3 pm at the Broadband Forum BASe Future of Fiber Technologies Workshop. As a Silver Sponsor of Fiber Connect 2021, DZS CMO Geoff Burke will be the featured speaker on Monday July 26 at 5:30 pm in the Expo Theater for a 20-minute presentation entitled “XCelerating into the Future with DZS”.

“Fiber Connect is a leading optical fiber business and technology event in the Americas that strategically convenes North American service providers, fiber overbuilders and WISPs to develop the communications industry of tomorrow,” said Andrew Bender, CTO of DZS. “We believe next generation broadband connectivity, mobile and edge transport, and software defined solutions and services are top-of-mind among the Fiber Connect audience; this aligns perfectly with where we as DZS have been focusing our innovation and development energy on a go-forward basis. Since Fiber Connect 2021 marks one of the first U.S. national shows in the communications industry to be back in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, we are looking forward to meeting with and demonstrating our latest innovations for our customers, prospective customers and ecosystem partners in-person in Nashville.”

Visitors to the DZS booth will experience first-hand a range of the latest technology innovations:

  • DZS Cloud Analytics: At the center of the DZS booth, demonstrations of the new DZS Cloud analytics and orchestration solutions will show how service providers can optimize and automate their access and edge networks, reducing operational complexity to achieve cost-effective scale. DZS market-leading network orchestration and software automation solutions are gaining traction with service providers around the world and driving transformation to a software defined and automated network in an open and multi-vendor environment. DZS Cloud includes orchestration, access network management and advanced analytics, enabling service providers to efficiently operate their networks and detect issues proactively to avoid service impact.

  • Mobile Transport: The DZS Chronos mobile transport portfolio provides a full range of 5G-ready xHaul (fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul) solutions that are open, software-defined and proven and enable topologies and architectures for Open RAN and Virtual RAN approaches. The new O-series line of environmentally hardened optical transport products will be on display, including the MPX-9103 100G DWDM Muxponder and the modular TMS-1190 Optical Edge Transport Platform, optimized for high capacity and long-reach mobile xHaul scenarios. Also, on display will be the widely deployed C1216RO Open FrontHaul Gateway as well as M-series mobile backhaul products, including M3500 and M1500 cell-site switch / router platforms.

  • Broadband Access: The DZS Velocity Portfolio of broadband access systems, switches and routers, unified by the powerful Software Defined Network (SDN)-enabled operating system sdNOS, provides carriers with extraordinary flexibility with the latest fiber access technologies and software-centric operational models. DZS V-series modular chassis system, as well as new specialized compact form factor XGS-PON and 10 gig access solutions will be shown – all of which are part of the groundbreaking XCelerate by DZS line of 10 Gig solutions.

  • Connected Premises: The DZS Helix Edge Access solutions portfolio of feature-rich ONTs, smart gateways and home Wi-Fi management solutions for residences and enterprises will be on display, ready for emerging 5G, 10 gigabit, Wi-Fi 6-enabled networks. Armed with these intelligent access edge solutions complemented by DZS Cloud, service providers can move beyond traditional triple-play offerings to quickly and efficiently launch, operate, troubleshoot and optimized cutting edge residential and business services.

See you at the show! For more information visit www.DZSi.com.

About DZS
DZS Inc. (NSDQ: DZSI) is a global leader of intelligent, packet-based mobile transport and broadband access converged edge solutions with more than 20 million products in-service with customers and alliance partners spanning more than 100 countries.

DZS, the DZS logo, and all DZS product names are trademarks of DZS Inc. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective holders. Specifications, products, and/or product names are all subject to change.

This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding future events and our future results that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements reflect the beliefs and assumptions of the Company’s management as of the date hereof. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “goal,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” variations of such words, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. The Company’s actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include, but are not limited to, those risk factors contained in the Company’s SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including without limitation, the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and subsequent filings. In addition, additional or unforeseen affects from the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic climate may give rise to or amplify many of these risks. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. DZS undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.

For further information see: www.DZSi.com.
DZS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dzs_innovation
DZS on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/DZSi/

Press Inquiries:
McKenzie Hurst, Thatcher+Co.
Mobile: +1 408.888.6787
Email: mhurst@thatcherandco.com



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