In early February 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights (the Bill) which expands the rights and protections afforded to temporary workers. The Bill is applicable to temporary laborers in a “designated classification placement,” which is defined as an assignment of a temporary laborer by a temporary help service firm to perform work in any of the following occupational categories: (1) food preparation and serving related occupations, (2) building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations, (3) construction laborers, (4) helpers, construction trades, (5) installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, (6) production occupations, (7) transportation and material moving occupations, (8) other protective service workers, or any successor categories as the Bureau of Labor Statistics may designate.
Among other requirements, the Bill enhances certification requirements for temporary help service firms (which include registering with the Division of Consumer Affairs), additional recordkeeping obligations, creates new notification and wage statement requirements for temporary help service firms, and created new requirements related to compensation for temporary workers, including the following:
- Temporary workers are to be paid at least the same average rate of pay and equivalent benefits as the third-party client’s permanent employees performing the same or similar work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility.
- Temporary service firms must hold daily wages and provide biweekly paychecks, if requested by the temporary worker.
- Deductions for meals and equipment are prohibited if they would reduce the temporary workers’ pay below minimum wage.
- Temporary workers contracted by the service firm to work at a third-party client’s worksite, but are not utilized by the third-party client, shall be paid by the service firm for a minimum of four hours of pay at the agreed-upon rate.
- Temporary help service firms cannot restrict the rights of a temporary laborer and/or third-party client to accept/offer a permanent position with the third-party client to whom the temporary laborer has been referred for work.
Service firms will be required to provide temporary laborers with a statement in English, and in the language identified by the employee as their primary language, a notice containing, but not limited to, the following items:
1. Name of the temporary laborer
2. The name, address, and telephone number of:
a. The temporary help service firm
b. Its workers’ compensation carrier
c. The worksite employer or third-party client
d. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development
3. The wages offered
4. The terms of transportation offered to the temporary laborer, if applicable, and
5. The length of the assignment, if known.
In addition to the notice requirements, which also include a posting requirement regarding wage information, temporary help service firms shall keep records relating to several aspects of the transaction, including (1) the name, address, and telephone number of the third-party client, including each worksite, to which temporary laborers were sent and the date of the transaction, (2) the name and title of the individual or individuals at each third-party client’s place of business responsible for the transaction, (3) copies of all contracts, if any, with the third-party client and copies of all invoices for the third-party client, and (4) any specific qualifications or attributes of a temporary laborer, requested by each third-party client.
There are two effective dates for the Bill. As of May 7, 2023, employers will begin complying with the notice and anti-retaliation provisions. All other requirements will go into effect on August 5, 2023. The employer should not wait to begin evaluating their current state of readiness. The Bill provides for civil penalties in the event of noncompliance by a temporary help service firm.