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ABC-NJ Offers Merit Shop Owners Relief from New Amendments

JUNE 9, 2022 – Mt. Laurel, New Jersey – With amendments made earlier this year to New Jersey’s Public Works Contractor Registration Act, the Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey (ABC-NJ) hosted construction industry experts and merit shop contractors for an educational session to help navigate the changes.

According to Russ McEwan, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C., the New Jersey’s Public Works Contractor Registration Act was amended to allow the New Jersey Department of Labor the ability to audit federally regulated apprenticeship programs and also strip affected contractors of the right to perform public work.

The new amendment is to be a catchall for companies that do not have an apprenticeship program in place or may not be fully compliant for various reasons. The NJ DOL has prepared for this by adding a new team of investigators as well as additional legal resources – litigators on loan from the US DOL. New Jersey isn’t playing; heavy penalties are built in for non-compliance, including suspensions, revocations, stop work orders and even potential jailtime.

Luckily for the attendees of the educational session, who are all members of Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey (ABC-NJ), they’re covered. ABC-NJ offers a 17 trade, US DOL registers and federally compliant apprenticeship program for all its members and works closely with the NJ DOL to ensure it remains compliant. This is a huge burden off merit shop contractors.

“We have invested a great deal of time and energy into developing a strong foundation with NJ DOL and ensuring our program is in compliance.” says Samantha DeAlmeida, President of ABC-NJ. “The law changed the game in 2019, and we’re making sure our members have indispensable resources available to them to succeed. ABC-NJ was able to work quickly to create a program that allows Merit Shop contractors to comply with the law and continue to do public work in New Jersey.”

The day included presentations from Russ McEwan of Littler Mendelson, PC, Marc Furman of Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC and Steven van Oyen of New Jersey Labor Shield.

The public comment period for the amendment passed into law earlier this year, is open through August 20th. “If there’s a problem, now is the time for us to speak up,” said McEwan. “We should have a robust response from the contractor community if any red flags in these laws cause concern.”

For more information on compliance, contact Samantha DeAlmeida at [email protected].