Temporary Workers Bill of Rights Creates New Obligations for Staffing Employers in New Jersey
On February 6, 2022, the Temporary Workers Bill of Rights became law in the state of New Jersey, creating new rights for temporary workers and new responsibilities for their employers. The law has multiple provisions governing the obligations of temporary and staffing service employers and each provision goes into effect between 90 and 180 days from the signing of the bill.
Among the provisions of the new law:
- Temporary workers must be paid the same average rate of pay as a permanent employee of the client company who performs substantially similar work at the same time as the temporary worker. Temporary workers also receive the average cost of benefits of these permanent employees, or the cash equivalent.
- If there is no work available at the client site where the temporary worker is assigned to work on a given day, the worker must be paid a minimum of four hours’ pay by the temporary or staffing agency at the agreed upon rate. If the worker is able to work at a different location during the same shift, the worker is still entitled to a minimum of two hours’ pay at the agreed upon rate.
- Temporary workers must receive detailed written wage notices upon hire in the primary language identified by the employee. The wage notices require more detailed information than almost any wage notice in the nation and temporary workers must start receiving these notices at the beginning of all assignments effective May 7. It is likely that the State of New Jersey will issue a model notice or template before that time.
- New requirements have also been added requiring employers to issue itemized paystubs.
- Wage deductions for transportation, consumer reports, drug testing, and background checks are prohibited by the new law, as are deductions for equipment and meals that would cause the worker’s hourly wage to fall below minimum wage. Permitted deductions still require the worker’s written authorization.
- The new law imposes substantial recordkeeping requirements on temporary and staffing agencies, requiring client contracts, wage notices, and information from the client company regarding the worker’s location, work performed, and hours worked to be retained for at least six years.
- Retaliation against an employee for exercising their rights under the Temporary Workers Bill of Rights is prohibited and could entitle the employee to damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs. The law also creates a private right of action against both the temporary or staffing agency and the client company.
Temporary help service firms and staffing service agencies should consult with counsel to determine whether the law applies to their workers and what steps they need to take now to comply with the law as its provisions begin to take effect. Contact the expert HR and employment law attorneys to help your temporary help service firm and staffing service agency stay compliant in all 50 states.
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