Governor Murphy of New Jersey has signed into law protections for temporary workers within his state. New Jersey has been known to have more stringent requirements for staffing and recruiting firms such as recruiters needing to be licensed in the state. This new law, referred to as the “Temporary Workers Bill of Rights,” adds significant new requirements to the state’s staffing firms. The new law is set to take effect on August 5, 2023, although certain provisions go into effect ninety days from enactment, or May 7, 2023.
Included in the bill are several items related to an employee’s paycheck and pay. Firstly, at the request of a temporary worker, employers must hold daily wages and provide biweekly paychecks to reduce the amount of check cashing fees applied. If a temporary worker is charged for meals or equipment, the charge must not reduce the temporary’s pay below minimum wage. If there is a change to the work schedule or assignment the temporary must be given 48 hours’ notice. Workers are to be paid a minimum of 4 hours pay if they are assigned a position and then the client company does not have work for the temporary workers. Additionally, firms and third parties can no longer charge transportation fees to the job.
The new law also prohibits staffing firms from interfering with a temporary worker who wishes to take full-time employment with the company in which they are placed or with another firm. An example of this prohibited interference is a non-compete clause to prevent temp-napping. If temporary firms charge a placement fee for a candidate hired by their placement employer, the temporary firm is required to disclose the amount of those fees on the temporary’s pay stub and notice forms. The employer and the temporary firm are jointly and severally liable for any violations of this portion of the law. New Jersey is also imposing a limit on the amount a firm can earn from the placement. Firms are also required to provide all workers with an itemized summary of wages, hours worked, pay rate and deductions from compensation. An earnings summary must be provided to the workers no later than the first day of February of each year.
Temporary firms will be required to be certified by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs if they wish to work within the state. The law bans employers in the state from working with firms if they are not certified. All records regarding the placement must be kept for 6 years and free copies must be provided within 5 days of a written request.
The statute of limitations for an employee to bring a claim is within 6 years of employment by the firm or termination of the contract. Penalties for violating the Temporary Workers Bill of Rights can range from $500 to $5,000 per offense. Additionally, the anti-retaliation provision of the bill specifies a 90-day period where there is a rebuttable presumption that any adverse action is retaliation. Damages for retaliation can be up to $20,000 per offense in addition to attorney’s fees.
Not all the provisions of the law are to the detriment or responsibility of the temporary firm. The law requires that employers must provide, in a prompt and timely manner, assignment information to the staffing firm no later than one week after the last day of the temporary’s final work week. They must also promptly provide a verification form to each temporary employee, even for a single day of work. Lastly, the law codifies the requirement that employers must reimburse temporary firms for all wages and payroll taxes for services performed by the temporary firm within the terms of the master service agreement or fee agreement. Codifying this requirement regarding payment and promptly getting assignment information back to the firm will allow for more efficient and prompt reimbursement of services provided and, hopefully, lower the chance of dispute, as record keeping will be increased due to this law.
It is noteworthy that this is only one state with such laws currently on the books. If you are working across state lines in a border state, be aware that as one state goes, others might follow!