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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee could soon be asked to sign a pair of bills that would bring to the state a mandated 20-point test to gauge whether a person is employed by a company or is a contractor, to help determine whether a worker is entitled to workers compensation.
H.B. 539, introduced by Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown, passed the House on Thursday. A similar bill, S.B. 466, was introduced in the state Senate in January and has been placed on the Commerce and Labor Committee for discussion April 9, according to updates posted this week.
The bill would introduce employers and the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development to the Internal Revenue Service’s 20-factor test “to determine whether an employer-employee relationship exists for purposes of the state's wage and hour laws, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1972, the Tennessee Employment Security Law, and the drug-free workplace laws, and making determinations of whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee under the Workers' Compensation Law,” a summary of the bill states.
The test includes such questions regarding hours worked, training, integration into the company’s business operation, level of investment of the worker’s resources, and the right to discharge a worker.
Proponents say the bill aims to cut back on frivolous claims in workers compensation, according to media reports.
Backers hope Tennessee becomes the third state to allow employers to opt out of the state's workers compensation system, but experts expect most employers would stay in the system to realize savings from recent reforms.