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Client Alert: Murphy Signs Controversial ‘Bill Of Rights’ For NJ Temp Workers

On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed A-1474/S-511 into law, a “Temporary Workers Bill of Rights”, in New Jersey. The new law aims to strengthen job protections for an estimated 127,000 temporary workers in the state, many of whom work in the warehouse industry.

According to a statement from Murphy’s office, here’s what the new law will do:

  • PROVIDE EQUAL PAY – “In an effort to advance pay equity, the bill will allow for temporary workers to be paid at least the same average rate of pay and equivalent benefits as the third-party client’s permanent employees performing the same or similar work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility. At the request of a temporary worker, temporary help service firms must hold daily wages and provide biweekly paychecks to avoid unnecessary check cashing fees that eat away at earnings. The bill also prohibits pay deductions for meals and equipment that would reduce temporary workers’ pay below minimum wage. Under a law signed by Gov. Murphy in 2019, the minimum wage was set to gradually raise to $15 per hour by 2024 for most employees. The statewide minimum wage increased to $14.13, effective, January 1, 2023. Firms and third-party clients will also be prohibited from charging fees to transport temporary workers to their work sites.”
  • INFORM WORKERS – “Temporary help services must provide temporary workers with common sense information detailing key terms of employment in the workers’ primary languages, such as hours worked and rate of pay.”
  • ANTI-RETALIATION – “Temporary service firms are prohibited from restricting an employee from accepting another position with a permanent employer or a third-party client. Further, the bill forbids temporary help service firms or third-party clients from retaliating against any temporary worker by firing them or treating them unfairly in any other way for exercising their legal rights.”

The proposed law has seen a rocky road since it was first introduced to state lawmakers last year. After it got final approval from the Legislature in August, Murphy vetoed it in September. But the governor praised the overall goals of the bill and said he is open to a revised version of the legislation, which passed a vote in the state Assembly in October. However, the revised version of the bill stalled in the Senate, which raised an outcry from labor advocates when lawmakers chose to pull the proposed law from a voting session in November.

The New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) said that while it appreciates the intent of the bill, it would jeopardize legitimate temp agencies, harm third-party businesses that use them, and, as a result, provide less opportunity for those seeking temporary employment. NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs, Alexis Bailey,  says “Ultimately, the unintended consequences will hurt the very workers this bill seeks to protect The bill narrowly passed by the Senate today, after not having enough votes on previous occasions, requires temporary workers to be paid the average compensation rate and benefits or the cash equivalent of the average cost of benefits paid to their employee counterparts. As a result of this, some temporary workers will be making more than permanent employees whose wages are determined by seniority and experience. There are also many logistical burdens to consider as temp agencies contract with multiple businesses that offer different benefits packages. All of this will serve to make it extremely difficult to provide jobs for temporary workers.”

According to Labor Statistics, more than 125,000 people are employed by temporary staffing agencies in the state.  Temporary employees currently staff some of the largest industries in the state, with most workers in the transportation, distribution, and logistics operations.


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