Report: Construction workers receive $28B a year in public assistance

Thirty-nine percent of families of construction workers in the U.S. are enrolled in at least one public safety net program such as Medicaid, according to a new report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center released this month. By comparison, 31% of workers across all industries have a family member enrolled in public assistance, Berkeley found. This adds up to $28 billion of public assistance for construction workers, which is roughly 10% of the amount spent for all working families. Classifying workers as independent contractors instead of full-time employees can drastically reduce costs for employers. One-third of labor costs can be cut when employers don’t have to pay Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare or workers’ compensation premiums, according to the report. In fact, a New York law recently went into effect, imposing a greater liability risk on prime contractors and reporting requirements on subcontractors. The goal of the law is to give workers a boon in recouping unpaid wages or benefits, as well as force contractors to police their subcontractors’ wage practices.

Share This Article: