On January 31, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that prohibits public works contractors – including first- and lower-tier subcontractors – from registering unless they can certify that they participate in registered apprenticeship programs approved by the United States Department of Labor. Importantly, contractors have to participate in qualified programs for each craft of workers they employ, but only for those individuals they “directly employ.” The bill does not address what it means to “directly employ” a worker; however, it seems that prime contractors that do not employ any laborers, mechanics, or skilled or semi-skilled laborers would not have to participate in a registered apprenticeship program. All other prime contractors and subcontractors would have to participate.
While many public works contractors have embraced apprenticeship programs, the State has never mandated participation in such programs, as they can be cost-prohibitive for small contractors. Currently, most registered apprenticeship programs are run by unions or trade associations.
The law does not become effective until May 1, 2019. Because the law only conditions “registration” on participation in a registered apprenticeship program, contractors that are able to reregister now are encouraged to do so. Not all contractors are eligible to register before the law takes effect, but those contractors that are able to do so may be able to delay the impact of this law for one or two years. Should those same contractors wish to continue performing public works projects, it may also give important additional time to find or create qualified registered apprenticeship programs.
To discuss how this law impacts you, reach out to Greg Trif or Nicole DeMuro.
Greg Trif, a partner at O’Toole Scrivo, represents developers, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in all areas of law affecting the construction industry including contract claims, project crisis management, labor and employment disputes and business torts. Greg can be reached at email@example.com or 973.239.5700.
Nicole M. DeMuro, of counsel at O’Toole Scrivo, represents employers, including general contractors and subcontractors, in a wide range of labor and employment matters. Before joining the firm, she worked as Senior Counsel to Governor Chris Christie and as a Deputy Attorney General specializing in labor and employment law. Nicole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973.239.5700.
This update is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
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