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New Jersey Passes Bill of Rights for Temporary Workers

New Jersey recently passed a bill of rights for the state’s temporary workers. The law requires New Jersey based staffing agencies and their customers to provide several notifications to temp workers.

Under the law, a temporary worker is anyone who contracts for employment with a temporary help service firm. It excludes agricultural crew leaders, secretaries, or administrative assistants but does apply to a wide range of other occupations including workers who perform grounds cleaning and maintenance, personal care and service, and construction. A temporary help service firm is any individual or entity that operates a business employing individuals directly or indirectly for the purpose of assigning the employed individuals to assist the firm’s customers in handling their temporary, excess, or special workloads.

Written Wage Notices

Effective May 7, 2023, detailed written wage notices must be provided in English or in the primary language of the temporary worker. The notices must include:

    1) Name of the worker.
    2) The contact information of the temporary help service firm, its workers’ compensation carrier, the third-party client, and New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
    3) The name and nature of the work to be performed.
    4) Wages earned by the temporary worker.
    5) Name and address of the assigned worksite.
    6) Transportation offered, if applicable.
    7) Description of the position and whether it requires special clothing, equipment, training, or licenses as well as whether these costs will be charged to the employee.
    8) Meals and equipment provided or their costs.
    9) Schedule of multiday assignments.
    10) Length of assignment.
    11) Amount of sick leave and instructions for use under New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Laws.

Anti-Retaliation Protections

Also effective May 7, 2023, are the law’s anti-retaliation protections.

Neither a temporary help service nor its third-party client can retaliate against a temporary worker for exercising their rights under the law.

Any adverse action occurring within 90 days of a temporary worker exercising their rights is presumed to be retaliation. A successful retaliation claim could result in equitable relief, liquidated damages equal to $20,000 per incident, reinstatement, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Rate of Pay for Temporary Workers

Beginning on August 5, 2023, temporary workers must be paid the same average rate of pay as a regular employee of the third-party client performing substantially similar work. This includes the average cost of benefits or its cash equivalent. If there is no work available at the assigned worksite, the temporary help service firm must pay a minimum of four hours of pay at the agreed upon rate. Paycheck stubs also must include an itemized statement with:

    1) Contact information of each third-party client worked for during the pay period.
    2) Rate of payment for each hour worked.
    3) Total pay period earnings.
    4) Amount of each deduction made, including why the deduction was made.

Deductions for transportation, background checks including drug testing, and paycheck cashing fees are prohibited. Costs for meals and equipment can be deducted but must not cause the hourly wage to fall below the minimum wage. In addition, there must be a prior written authorization from the temporary worker for reasonable market value deductions of equipment.

Record Retention

Temporary help service firms must keep the contact information and contracts of third-party clients and copies of all employment notices for six years. Third party clients also have the obligation to provide the following pieces of information to the temporary help service firm under threat of civil penalty:

    1) The name and address of the temporary worker.
    2) The specific location of performed work.
    3) The type of work performed.
    4) Amount of hours worked.
    5) Hourly rate of pay.
    6) Date sent.

All aspects of the law include a private right of action for violations that can be pursued against the temporary help service firm and the third-party client. There is also a provision for class action lawsuits. The statute of limitations is six years from the last date of employment.

If you are a OneDigital client and have questions about this law, how it impacts your business, or how it impacts your temporary employees, please contact your OneDigital consultant.

Want to learn about important changes to the national compliance landscape? Check out the Need-to-Know Quarterly Compliance Recap for Employers for Q1 2023.