Writer: Esteban Pagés
2 min read February 2023 — In a significant move to support vulnerable workers in the Garden State, Gov. Phil Murphy signed new legislation, referred to as the “Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights.” According to the bill, at least 127,000 individuals work for temporary help service firms — nearly 3% of the state’s 4.23 million nonfarm workforce. Nearly 100 temporary help service firms are licensed throughout the state, while a large number of temporary help service firms remain unlicensed, operating outside the purview of law enforcement.
“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,” said Gov. Murphy in a press release on Monday.
This state of affairs prompted the creation and enactment of the bill of rights, which significantly expands temporary worker rights and protections, allowing greater oversight to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) and the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) with the Department of Law and Public Safety on temporary help service firms and third-party clients. Specifically, they will be overseeing strengthened certification requirements and upholding the prohibition of contracting with uncertified firms.
Moreover, the bill allows temporary workers to be paid at least the same average rate of pay, including equivalent benefits as third-party client’s permanent workforce performing similar work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility. In addition, temporary help service firms must hold daily wages and provide biweekly paychecks at the request of a temporary worker. Pay deductions for meals and equipment, as well as charging fees to transport temporary workers to their work sites, will also be prohibited.
“The temp worker bill of rights has been a long time coming. There’s been little oversight of temp agencies over the years; it shouldn’t be a race to the bottom when it comes to essential temp workers that make the economy run. So this bill is about creating some baseline standards and oversight and New Jersey as a leader when it comes to providing temp workers protections,” said Louis Kimmel, executive director of New Labor.
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