In February 2023, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law that would give temporary workers in the state more protections.BENEFITS UNDER THE NEW LAW
The law, known as the Temporary Workers' Bill of Rights, N.J.S.A. §34:8D-1 et seq., requires temporary staffing agencies to provide their workers with several benefits, including:
- The right to a written contract that includes the worker's pay rate, hours of work, and job duties
- The right to be paid at least minimum wage and overtime pay
- The right to breaks and meal periods
- The right to be free from discrimination and harassment
- The right to workers' compensation benefits if they are injured on the job
REQUIREMENTS OF THE NEW LAW
The law also requires temporary staffing agencies to report workers' compensation claims to the state. This information will be used to track the number of injuries to temporary workers and identify any trends or patterns.
The New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), the American Staffing Association (ASA), and the New Jersey Staffing Alliance (NJSA) have filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the law is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs argue that the law violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which prohibits states from passing laws that unduly burden interstate commerce. They also argue that the law needs to be more specific and enforceable.
“This Complaint challenges the validity of N.J.S.A. §34:8D-1 et seq. ("the Legislation"), which greatly impacts the Plaintiffs, associations whose members consist of or include individuals or entities which provide temporary laborers to their clients. The Legislation is unconstitutional in several respects. The Legislation violates the dormant Commerce Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause under the United States Constitution. The Legislation also singles out temporary labor providers and violates the Equal Protection Clause under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New Jersey. The Legislation further is unconstitutionally vague and unreasonably exercises police power. As such, the Legislation violates the Plaintiffs' rights to due process under the United States and New Jersey Constitutions. Plaintiffs have asserted a federal civil rights cause of action against defendants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, et seq. Plaintiffs further assert a claim under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.”
“The Legislation, if allowed to be implemented and enforced, will lead to insurmountable problems, resulting in paralysis within the temporary staffing industry. Additionally, an objective of the Legislation, to raise the wages of temporary staffing employees, is not met. The Legislation simply does not ensure a higher wage.”
The status of the lawsuit is currently pending. A hearing is scheduled for June 2023.
LAW PROTECTS TEMPORARY WORKERS
The new law has been praised by labor advocates, who say it will help protect temporary workers from exploitation. However, business groups have criticized the law, saying that it will increase business costs and make it more difficult to hire temporary workers.
It is unclear what the outcome of the lawsuit will be. However, the lawsuit has raised important questions about the balance between the rights of workers and the interests of businesses.
Here are some additional details about the new law:
- The law applies to temporary workers employed by staffing agencies and working for clients in New Jersey.
- The law does not apply to temporary workers employed directly by the client.
- The law requires staffing agencies to provide their workers with a written contract that includes the worker's pay rate, hours of work, and job duties.
- The law requires staffing agencies to pay their workers at least minimum wage and overtime pay.
- The law requires staffing agencies to provide their workers with breaks and meal periods.
- The law prohibits staffing agencies from discriminating against their workers or harassing their workers.
- The law requires staffing agencies to report workers' compensation claims to the state.
THE LAW IS A SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD
The new law is a significant step forward for temporary workers in New Jersey. It will help to ensure that these workers are treated fairly and have the same rights and protections as other workers.
NEW JERSEY STAFFING ALLIANCE, NEW JERSEY BUSINESS and INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION and AMERICAN STAFFING ASSOCIATION v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al., Docket No. 2:23-cv-02494 (USDCT-NJ) Filed May 5, 2023
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 email@example.com has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Updated: May 22, 2023