Equal Pay for Temps Proposed in NJ Bill
Updated: May 16
Following years of organizing and activism by temp workers in the state, a far-reaching Senate bill introduced last week may finally offer temp workers what they deserve: equal pay for equal work! Temp workers took their message to the state capital, part of a coalition led by New Labor and Make the Road NJ, as they demand fairness and justice at work.
"A temp worker bill of rights is critical because it will be a tool in our arsenal to improve conditions for temp workers, and all of the problems that they face at temp agencies. And we will be ready to be the ones to enforce it! So we're fighting for this bill to protect temp workers," said Reynalda Cruz of New Labor.
“This is about respecting us as workers, respecting us as human beings. That means not being packed in like sardines into a temp agency van and having to pay weekly for that “privilege”. That means giving out earned sick time that we accrue as guaranteed by law in New Jersey. It means not retaliating against us for speaking out against unsafe workplaces and abuses like wage theft. We at New Labor will continue the fight to assure that we are treated with respect and dignity on the job,” said Diana Gaitan, temp worker and member of New Labor.
The bill is a strong start, proposing the strongest protections anywhere in the country!
What impact could this have on temporary workers?
Although this bill has not been passed yet, it would provide amazing benefits for temporary workers in New Jersey! Some of the benefits include:
1. Equal Compensation
Any temp worker doing “the same or substantially similar work” to a permanent worker must be paid the “same average rate of pay and equivalent benefits.”
2. More Transparency
Temporary workers will be provided vital information such as a description of the work that they will be doing, the hourly salary that they will receive, the length of their work assignment, and rather any training will be provided. Temporary staffing agencies will also be required to provide temporary workers with information regarding any conversion fees that the client company is responsible for paying.
3. Elimination of Fees for Employment
Temporary staffing agencies will no longer be able to charge temporary workers a fee for background checks, drug tests, or transportation provided by the agency.
4. Anti-Retaliation Protections
Temporary staffing agencies will now face financial penalties for retaliating against temporary workers that speak out. This will empower temporary workers by allowing them to express their concerns in regards to their rights being violated. No one should face retaliation due to standing up for their rights!
These protections would be the strongest in the nation for temporary workers, and a testament to the commitment and brave workers who have stood up for their rights. More than 100,000 New Jerseyans are susceptible to being exploited by temporary staffing agencies and this bill would provide additional protections for them, and a strong example for other states to follow.
Continuing to build on the work being done in New Jersey!
Temp Worker Justice, along with NELP, worked closely with New Labor over the last two years in a formal partnership helping members document their experiences in a customized survey, creating state-level data to support policy change. Together we gained media coverage on local nightly news, and put data and messaging from workers into the hands of community leaders and policymakers.
There is much work still to be done in New Jersey. But, Temp Worker Justice is ready to support local efforts like these across the country, helping to empower temp workers and workers’ organizations in their fight for fairness and justice!
New Jersey Temp Workers: take the National Temp Work Survey to get in touch and stay connected to this movement!
In Other States: contact us about how we can support your work.