CSG Law Alert: New Jersey’s Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights: What Employers and Temporary Help Service Firms Must Know
In February 2023, New Jersey’s Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights (the “Bill of Rights”) was signed into law. As a result, numerous protections will be provided to certain temporary workers in the State of New Jersey. While most provisions of the Bill of Rights will not take effect until August 5, certain provisions – including those prohibiting retaliation and requiring detailed wage notices for new hires – became effective May 7. It is critical for all temporary help service firms and employers who utilize temporary workers, referred to in the Bill of Rights as “third-party clients,” to understand the new law and ensure compliance.
The Bill of Rights is a sweeping reform of temporary work in the State of New Jersey that requires equal pay for temporary workers as compared to permanent employees of the third-party client performing the same or substantially similar work. The Bill of Rights also mandates certain minimum compensation for temporary workers, institutes new wage notice, wage payment, and recordkeeping requirements, and prohibits retaliation against temporary workers for exercising their rights under the new law.
Only certain occupational categories of temporary workers identified by the New Jersey Legislature as being at the greatest risk of exploitation are protected by the new law. Those occupational categories include:
- Other Protective Service Workers (35-90000);
- Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations (35-0000);
- Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations (37-0000);
- Personal Care and Service Occupations (39-0000);
- Construction Laborers (47-2060);
- Helpers, Construction Trades (47-30000);
- Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations (49-0000);
- Production Occupations (51-0000); and
- Transportation and Material Moving Occupations (53-0000).
Workers in additional occupational categories may receive protection under the new law, as the covered occupational categories also include “any successor of categories as the Bureau of Labor Statistics may designate.”
Effectively immediately, temporary help service firms must provide temporary workers with a detailed, written wage notice that includes certain information, including but not limited to, the nature of the work to be performed, the wages offered, the name and address of the assigned worksite of each temporary worker, the length of the assignment, if known, and the amount of sick leave to which the temporary worker is entitled under New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law. The State of New Jersey Department of Labor has offered a form of that notice, called a Temporary Laborer Assignment Notification, here.
Importantly, the new law requires that temporary workers be paid at least the average rate of pay and provided with equivalent benefits (or the cash equivalent) of the “employees of the third party client performing the same or substantially similar work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions for the third party client at the time the temporary laborer is assigned to work at the third party client.” Both temporary help service firms and third-party clients are jointly and severally liable for any violations of this equal pay provision.
No temporary help service firm or third-party client may retaliate against a temporary worker for exercising their rights under the Bill of Rights. Protected activity under the new law includes the following:
- Making a complaint to a temporary help service firm, third-party client, co-worker, community organization, before a public hearing, or to a State or federal agency that rights under the new law have been violated;
- Instituting any proceeding under or related to the Bill of Rights; and/or
- Testifying or preparing to testify in an investigation or proceeding under the new law.
If a temporary worker is terminated or is the subject of disciplinary action within 90 days of their exercise of protected activity, there will be a rebuttable presumption that retaliation occurred.
The Bill of Rights offers numerous other protections to temporary workers, including the right to be paid for a minimum number of hours at the agreed upon rate of pay if not utilized by a third-party client, the right to an annual earnings summary by February 1 of each year, and the right to a detailed itemized statement each time wages are paid. This itemized statement must include the name, address and telephone number of each third-party client at which the temporary worker worked, the number of hours worked by the temporary worker at each third-party client during each day of the pay period, the rate of pay for each hour worked (including bonuses and/or premium rates), the total earnings of the temporary worker for the pay period, and the purpose and amount of each deduction made from the temporary worker’s pay.
Under the new law, temporary help service firms must retain certain records for six years. Third-party clients also have recordkeeping obligations. Specifically, by no later than seven days following the last day of the work week worked by the temporary worker, the third-party client must remit the following information to the temporary help service firm for each temporary worker: their name and address; the specific location the temporary worker was sent to work, the type of work performed, the number of hours worked, the hourly rate of pay, and the date sent.
Third-party clients can now be penalized if they enter into a temporary service contract with a temporary help service firm not properly certified by the Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. So, for employers, it is critical to ensure that any temporary help service firm with whom they do business is properly certified.
While the Bill of Rights contains numerous other protections for temporary workers, these are the provisions that will require the greatest efforts from employers and temporary help service firms to ensure compliance. If you are an employer or temporary help service firm seeking guidance regarding New Jersey’s Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights, please contact your CSG Law attorney or the author of this alert.