Massage therapist

Dana Watson

While I am fortunate to have secured part-time employment as a massage therapist with a hospice organization, it is not enough to sustain a living on its own. I rely on private elder clients, and I earn additional revenue through my company, Relative Touch, where I hire other independent-contractor therapists who are skilled in this massage niche. I pay them more than I pay myself.

What will happen to me if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: Not only will I lose one-third of my income from this revenue stream, but several independent-contractor therapists who work with me will lose about one-third of their income, as well. They depend upon this additional outlet where I secure clients for them, to supplement their own practices. All of our families will be hurt.

Why I prefer to be an independent contractor: Viable employment opportunities in the massage industry are rare. When available, the jobs are provided by corporate chains where therapists are overworked and severely underpaid, leading to an average of minimum wage at best. I can earn a better living by remaining an independent contractor and being my own boss. I can also do better work than offering cookie-cutter McMassages.

What I want lawmakers to know: If S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) passes, there would be little or no economic sustainability for thousands of New Jersey licensed massage therapists.

I do agree with your goal. We need a way to protect workers who are truly being exploited by larger companies. But this is not the way to do it. I’m not being exploited, and if this legislation passes, I’m literally out of business.