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On behalf of our member companies that make NJBIA the most impactful statewide business association in the nation, I write to you in opposition to Assembly Bill No. 4682 (Schaer/Timberlake/Danielsen), which would require a vast number of covered employers to retain a wide range of service employees for 60 days following not only the sale of a business employing service workers, but also a minor change in service vendors. If enacted, this legislation would stifle a business’s ability to make necessary operational decisions and put public health and safety at risk.

We appreciate the amendments that were made to remove the criminal penalties from the bill and reduce the timeframe for employee retention from 90 to 60 days. However, we remain concerned about the impact this legislation will have on a business’s ability to change service contract vendors when they need to for legitimate business reasons. Businesses do not make service contract vendor changes lightly. On the rare occasion these changes are made, it is done for health, safety, operational or financial reasons. By mandating employee retention following minor vendor changes, this legislation remains the most far-reaching iteration of employee retention mandates to date and can have significant health and safety implications for our residents, employees and employers.

This legislation will create a significant logistical burden for service vendors and interfere with private contracts. This bill would require a new service vendor, referred to as a “successor employer” to hire and retain the employees of a previous vendor if they are providing the same type of service. For example, if Company A contracts with ABC Cleaning Service to clean their facility and ends that contract to hire XYZ Cleaning Service instead, XYZ Cleaning Service will be mandated to assume ABC Cleaning Service’s employees for 60 days. Successor employers would be mandated to hire another vendor’s employees regardless of whether the original vendor had other work assignments for them, if the successor employer had their own employees to bring on to the job whose employment status may now be at risk, or if the covered location contracting for service work was dissatisfied with the job done by the previous vendor’s employees. This provision makes it impractical to ever change service contracts, stifling competition, efficiency and consumer health and safety.

This legislation so broadly defines service employees and covered locations to capture a significant number of businesses in our state, negatively impacting large swaths of our economy.  This bill would impact everything from large office complexes to residential buildings and healthcare facilities to performance halls. Airports, warehouses, schools and more will be subject to this hiring and retention mandate. Additionally, service employees include, but are not limited to, security, janitorial, maintenance and grounds maintenance workers, among others.

We implore the Legislature not to advance this legislation as written as it will hamstring the ability of employers to change service contract vendors for the betterment of not only their business, but also the health and safety of New Jerseyans who utilize their goods and services. While the intent of protecting workers is laudable, this bill lacks critical balance and can result in real harm for employees, the public and businesses. For these reasons, we urge you to vote NO on A-4682. If you have any questions or would like to further discuss, I can be reached at abailey@njbia.org.

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