Trenton – The temporary workers who perform a wide variety of jobs and have increased in numbers in recent years would gain basic employee protections that already apply to most American workers, under terms of legislation authored by Senator Joe Cryan that was approved by the Senate today and sent to the Governor.
The bill, S-511/A-1474, entitled “The Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights, would provide protections for temporary workers and set standards for the temp agencies that employ them. Previously approved by the Senate and Assembly, the Governor asked for revisions that were made to the legislation. Today’s Senate vote was 21- 16.
“This is an invisible workforce that has been left vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. They have been cheated out of their wages, denied benefits, forced to work in unsafe conditions and charged unjustified fees by employers,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “The Bill of Rights will help correct these wrongs of the past so these workers are treated fairly. We respect all workers and expect them to be treated fairly.”
The growing temp industry in New Jersey includes at least 127,000 people working for an estimated 100 licensed temp agencies, with an unknown number of unlicensed agencies operating outside the oversight of regulators. Most are low-wage workers, often people of color or first-generation Americans working hard to support themselves and their families, Senator Cryan said. They include “perma-temps,” who are repeatedly hired by the same employer but denied the rights and benefits most full-time workers receive.
“Many temp workers are people of color or first generation Americans who are working hard to support themselves and their families,” said Senator Cryan. “Because of their circumstances, they are vulnerable to mistreatment. This bill would help ensure their rights and make sure they have the information they need to protect themselves.”
The bill will hold the temp agencies accountable by requiring record keeping that is available to workers and regulators that includes basic information on hours worked, the pay rate and the employer of record. It will also have temp agencies provide laborers with basic employment information, including the names of the agency, the employer, the workers’ comp carrier and contacts for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.