Temporary workers within the Garden State will have novel protections under new legislation just signed in Trenton.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed A-1474/S-511 into law Feb. 6. Commonly referred to as the “Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights,” the legislation will significantly expand the rights and protections of such workers within New Jersey.
“Our temporary workers, regardless of their race or status, are key contributors to the workforce in our state,” said Murphy in a signing statement. “Signing the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights establishes necessary guidelines for temporary help service firms and third-party clients to ensure that these workers are afforded basic protections and treated with the dignity they deserve.”
Treating Workers Fairly
Legislative supporters of the said the bill achieves the goal of respecting all workers and ensures they are treated fairly.
“This Bill of Rights honors the core American values of hard work and dignity by ensuring that the growing number of temporary workers have their workplaces safe, wages paid for work completed, and most importantly, know that the law will protect them,” said State Sen. Joseph Cryan (D-20).
Under the legislation, temporary help service firms and third-party clients will see greater oversight by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) and the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) within the Department of Law and Public Safety.
Under the bill, DCA will oversee enhanced certification requirements for temporary help service firms. Contracting with uncertified firms will be prohibited for third-party clients. Enforcement actions will fall under NJDOL’s purview.
“Temporary workers will now have additional tools available to secure the fair wages and protections they are entitled to under the law – yet another advancement strengthening New Jersey as the gold standard for worker protections and development,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
Advancing Pay Equity
The legislation will work to advance pay equity by allowing for temporary workers to be paid at least the same rate of pay and equivalent benefits as the third-party’s permanent employees performing the same or similar work.
At the request of a temporary worker, help service firms must hold daily wages and provide biweekly paychecks to avoid unnecessary check cashing fees which can eat away at earnings.
The legislation prohibits pay deductions for meals and equipment that would reduce a temporary workers’ pay below minimum wage. Firms would be prohibited from charging fees to transport temporary workers to work sites.
“For the over 130,000 temporary workers in New Jersey and their families, the signing of A1474 represents a historic victory for labor rights,” said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-19). “Temporary workers have been treated differently for far too long and have been forced to deal with a multitude of injustices all while carrying out essential work and trying to provide for their families.”