New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday signed into law the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights, the first of its kind in the United States, benefitting more than 127,000 workers across the state, many of them people of color and immigrants. The governor’s signing comes four days after the New Jersey Senate narrowly passed a revised bill, preceded by months of delays.
Under the law, which takes effect in 90 days, workers will have the right to basic information in their native language as well as English, regarding the type of work, salary, where they will be working, their schedule, and amount of sick time.
The law also establishes that temporary workers are guaranteed to be paid at least minimum wage after fee deductions by temporary work agencies, while also mandating that agencies must set wages the same as workers’ full-time counterparts. Many fees charged by temporary work agencies will also be eliminated by the law, including the vehicles that deliver workers to jobsites daily.
Labor and immigration law advocates have been pushing for a change in legislation for years, garnering pushback from business leaders and government representatives. Inspiration for the bill was prompted in part due to the “Invisible Workforce” series published in The Star Ledger and NJ.com in 2016. The series followed a months-long NJ Advance Media investigation, which found that some temporary work agencies were exploiting and mistreating workers, paying less in wages while also charging additional fees.
At signing, Murphy expressed that temporary workers are key contributors to the state’s workforce, regardless of their race, nationality, or status. Establishing the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights provides necessary guidelines to ensure that workers are afforded basic protections and treated with dignity, he added.
The state legislature passed an earlier version of the bill last year, resulting in a conditional veto from the governor over enforcement concerns and requests for alternations to the proposed legislation. It narrowly passed in October; however, the Senate then canceled the scheduled votes three times in the following months due to a lack of Democratic support for the measure and wide Republican opposition. In a final vote last week, Republican Senator Vince Polistina voted yes, passing the bill 21-16.
Temp agencies have largely opposed the measure since the beginning, citing that the proposed industry regulations will increase costs, force legitimate agencies to close or exit the state, and hurt third-party businesses that hire workers. Agency advocates argue current laws are already in place to punish those violating workers’ rights, but they are rarely enforced by state officials.
Pennsauken Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Whose Rights Are Violated Under the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights
If you are a temporary worker and your employer is violating your rights under the new law, the experienced Pennsauken employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. are available to provide counsel. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, South Jersey