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On average, temp workers earn 22% less pay for the same work, have more lapses in employment, and have less access to benefits. Lower pay is experienced by temp workers across industries and occupations. Temped Out, a 2014 report from the National Employment Law Project, examined the pay disparity in depth. 

The burden of low pay can extend beyond individual workers and their families. In many cases, the cost of below-market pay is picked up by taxpayers, as temp workers are twice as likely to receive government support like food stamps or Medicaid. 

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It's a foundational American principle that is NOT the law. The phrase is most often associated with the movement for the Fair Pay Act ensuring equal pay for women, but it is just as applicable for temporary workers.


92% of Americans believe in equal pay for equal work. 


When two individuals have the same experience, the same education, the same productivity, and work in the same workplace, they deserve the same pay. But the use of temporary employment agencies frequently puts equal workers side by side without equal compensation. 


This arrangement also has detrimental effects on "direct" or "permanent" workers. The bargaining power and earning abilities of direct employees is reduced when temporary staffing agencies place temp workers in their workplace. Corporations’ use of temporary workers sends a clear message to their permanent workforce: you can be replaced at any time.


Wage theft is a crime. Workers are entitled to back wages and penalties when their employers fail to pay them for:

  • all hours worked

  • always above minimum wage

  • overtime beyond 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week

Take the temp work survey or contact us if you believe you may be a victim of wage theft.

Temp Worker Wage Theft

Temporary Work, Permanent Abuse (2017). Research from the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI)


Wage theft is not isolated to small companies or fly-by-night temp agencies. Some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world have been held accountable when workers have spoken up and organized against non-payment and under-payment.

Workers win historic settlement against Wal-Mart and contracting agency Schneider Logistics.
Unpaid overtime awarded to 1,543 highly skilled temp workers in the oil field and maritime facilities on the Gulf Coast.
Paid, with $943,000 still pending, in case of misclassification that underpaid "independent contractors" and temps working for Skechers shoe company and trucking partner Green Fleet Systems.
Paid to 800 hotel temp workers at Hilton Garden Inn, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, and chains, for ignoring minimum wage, overtime, and Family & Medical Leave Act laws.
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