The state of New Jersey has adopted a new law regarding management of temporary workers that could set an example for other states, according to employment attorneys.
The new law, which goes into effect on Aug. 5, imposes sweeping changes to compensation, benefits, and legal protections for temporary workers. Temp agencies and employers that hire through such agencies will bear the cost and burden of future compliance.
The law applies only to temp workers in specified federal job classifications, including transportation and material moving; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; production; construction laborers, helpers, and construction trades workers.
It requires that temp workers be given no less than the average rate of pay and average cost of benefits of third-party clients’ employees who perform the same or substantially similar work.
Employers and staffing agencies must now determine which of their employees are in positions sufficiently similar to temp workers to determine pay and benefits.
Temp staffing agencies cannot deduct from a worker’s wages items such as check-cashing fees or expenses for conducting consumer reports, background checks or drug tests. Instead, these expenses must be borne by the employer or the staffing agency.
Temps also are protected from last-minute work schedule changes and cancellations. Temp agencies must be certified by the state labor department and certification requirements will be strengthened.
Fines for violating the new law vary based on the type and number of prior violations and range from $500 to $5,000 for each individual violation.