From the Missoulian,
Montana government officials are looking into ways to crack down on under-the-table payments and other types of payroll fraud in the construction industry.
The Task Force on Integrity in Wage Reporting and Employee Classification recently announced recommendations on “how to help reduce and eliminate unlawful misclassification and other types of fraud in the industry.”
According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the task force was created in April by an executive order from Gov. Steve Bullock “to coordinate state and industry resources to assist in identifying inappropriate employment relationships and ensuring proper tax withholdings, insurance contributions, and wage payments in the construction industry.”
“Misclassification and unreported payments rob workers of their lawful protections to wages, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation,” said Lt. Governor Mike Cooney, task force chairman. “This fraud burdens ratepayers by creating uninsured and underinsured claims and puts lawful businesses at a competitive disadvantage. This task force has worked together to protect Montana’s workers, businesses and taxpayers.”According to Cooney, payroll fraud includes paying workers under the table or misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Businesses that inadvertently or purposefully underpay workers go without paying their fair share of taxes, he noted. Cooney also said “that type of fraud deprives workers of earned wages, and burdens ratepayers in the workers’ compensation and unemployment systems by creating uninsured and underinsured claims.”