Months after the governor signed a New Jersey temporary workers law, state officials have provided guidance.
The law, which provides several protections for temporary workers in New Jersey, was initially passed in February 2023. In May 2023, the state posted a new webpage to provide additional information for employers and such employees.
While parts of the statute are currently in effect, the bulk of the provisions under the New Jersey temporary workers law (Temporary Workers Bill of Rights) go into effect Aug. 5, 2023.
New Jersey Temporary Workers Law
The New Jersey temporary workers law only applies to employees who are placed in an assignment by a temporary “help service firm” to perform work in certain categories.
As for the basics of the law, it:
- Creates notification requirements for temporary help service firms when placing a temporary laborer at a worksite
- Bars retaliation against a temporary worker for exercising their rights under the law
- Requires equal pay and benefits for temporary workers performing the same or similar jobs as employees of a third-party contracting employer
Meanwhile, the guidance from the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) outlines several items of note for affected employers. Below are a few specifics. For additional information, visit the new state webpage.
Covered Temporary Workers
As mentioned above, only employees in certain categories are covered by the law. They include:
- Food preparation and serving
- Production such as laundry and dry cleaning, food processing, textile and wood workers
- Transportation and moving such as drivers, parking attendants, and material moving
- Personal care and service, such as amusement, entertainment, and dressing room attendants
- Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance such as janitors, cleaners and landscaping workers
- Protective service such as security guards and crossing guards
- Installation, maintenance and repair
A list of the specific jobs that are covered under each of the occupational categories here can be found on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
Effective May 7, 2023, temporary help service firms must provide an “Assignment Notification” form to employees when they are dispatched to work for a third-party client.
The form includes employee details and information about work assignments (including info on New Jersey Earned Sick Leave).
Temporary help service firms that fail to provide the form can face a civil penalty of at least $500 and up to $1,000 for each violation.
Meanwhile, in the event of a change in the schedule, shift or location of a multi-day assignment, the temporary help service firm must provide notice to the temporary worker not less than 48 hours in advance of the change when possible.
Illustrating the complexity of this law, the FAQs section of the guidance regarding notices for the New Jersey temporary workers law continues:
If the temporary laborer is not placed with a third-party client or otherwise contracted to work for that day, the temporary help service firm is required to provide the temporary worker upon request a confirmation that they sought work. The confirmation must be signed by an employee of the temporary help service firm and shall include the name of the firm, the name and address of the temporary worker, and the date and the time that the temporary worker received the confirmation.
No temporary help service firm will be permitted to send any temporary worker to an assignment where a strike, a lockout, or other labor dispute exists without at the time of dispatch providing the temporary laborer with a statement, in writing, informing the temporary laborer of the existence of the strike, lockout, or other labor dispute and the temporary laborer’s right to refuse the assignment.
Temporary help service firms are required to make all of the information listed above, available to its temporary workers in Spanish or in any other language that is generally understood in the locale of the temporary help service firm.
Covered temporary workers cannot be paid less than the average rate of pay and average cost of benefits of employees of a third-party client performing the same or substantially similar work on jobs where the performance “requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions,” according to the NJDOL.
Other Items of Note
The notification and prohibition on retaliation provisions are in effect, though the rest of the portions of law will in August 2023.
Finally, state officials say the website regarding the New Jersey temporary workers law will be updated as more guidance becomes available.
Employment Law Compliance
The rise of employment law legislation in recent years has led to a number of nuanced statutes, as is the case with the New Jersey temporary workers law.
Meanwhile, even the basics are becoming more complex. More than 110 jurisdictions now have their own minimum wage law, and several have industry-specific rates to keep an eye on.
At the same time, dozens of states, counties and cities have enacted paid leave legislation.
And all these laws add up to new labor law posters, which saw a jump from 516 updates in 2021 to more than 650 in 2022.
Employers that operate across the U.S. should constantly be monitoring local employment laws to remain in compliance.
Companies with temporary workers in New Jersey should review the state’s webpage to ensure compliance with the law, especially as the August 2023 requirements approach.