On February 6, 2023, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Assembly Bill 1474, more publicly known as the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights Act. The Act provides two purposes: 1) progressive and significant protections for certain groups of temporary workers in New Jersey; and 2) establishes sweeping new requirements and rules for temporary health service firms (Firms) that are located or operated in, or transact business within New Jersey, and third-party clients (Clients). If the Act is violated, then the injured party has a private right of action against both Firms and Clients, including both joint and several liability.
While the Act becomes effective on August 5th, 2023, it must be known that two of the provisions – the Anti-Retaliation/discrimination and Notices provisions – become effective on May 7, 2023. This article will outline the responsibilities and important points of information.
As provided under the Act, any retaliation by either Firms or Clients to Workers exercising their rights is prohibited. Furthermore, if a Firm or Client takes disciplinary action against a Worker, who exercised their right within 90 days before the action is taken, then a rebuttable presumption of retaliation is raised and the Firms and Clients are exposed to joint and Several Liability Damages.
The Act requires that Firms must provide Workers with a detailed written notice on or before the first day of the assignment. The notice must contain a number of details:
- Specific information on the Firm
- Location of the work
- Total pay period of earnings
- Rate of pay
- Number of hours worked at each location
- Deductions and the reasons for deductions
- Any other information required by the Commissioner of Labor Development
If you’re a Temporary Help Service Firm, there are requirements and information that specifically applies to you. Here is what you need to know:
What the Firm should first consider is whether the Act applies to them. The Statute makes clear that it applies to the following Department of Labor Categories, with more to follow:
- Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations (35-0000)
- Personal Care and Service Operations (39-0000)
- Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations (37-0000)
- Construction Laborers (47-2060)
- Helpers, Construction Trades (47-30000)
- Transportation and Material Moving Occupations (53-0000)
- Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations (37-0000)
- Production Occupations (51-0000)
- Other Protective Service Workers (33-9000)
- Or any successor categories as the Bureau of Labor Statistics may designate
If you determine that the Act applies to your Firm, keep in mind the following: Payment of Wages, Certification, Notices, Record Keeping, and other Miscellaneous responsibilities.
Payment of Wages
There are a number of conditions regarding the payment of wages. If a Worker is performing similar or substantially similar work as permanent employees, then the Worker must be paid the same average rate of pay and benefits (or cash equivalent) as the permanent employees. If this section is violated, the Firm and Client are subject to joint and several liability. Wage payments must be paid bi-weekly. If a Firm pays Workers on a daily basis, then the Firm is required to provide written notice of the change, which can be satisfied by posting a notice in an easily seen spot stating the Worker has the right to request bi-weekly checks.
Firms cannot charge a Worker for cashing a check, for a credit check, criminal background check, or drug test.
If a worker appears for an assignment but is not put to use, then the Worker must be paid for four (4) hours worth of work. But if that Worker is transferred to another location for work, then the Worker must be paid for two (2) hours worth of work.
Prior to entering into a contract, certification must be satisfied as it is a condition precedent to the contract. A principal executive officer of the Firm is required to submit the certificate to the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety (Director) under Oath providing information on the Firm and the Firm’s compliance with the Act.
Once the Firm receives certification, it is required to provide proof of the certification to each Client. If the Director revokes or suspends the certification, the Firm is required to notify the Client within twenty-four (24) hours. For the sake of both clarity and compliance, the Division of Consumer Affairs will post and maintain a public list on its website of Firms to provide notice on whether the Firms are certified.
Firms must notify Workers if a work location is changed and if the location is on strike. In the case of a strike, the Worker has the right to refuse the assignment.
By February 1 of each year and no later, the Firm must provide each Worker with an annual earnings summary. In satisfying the notice condition of this sub-provision, Firms must include notice of the annual earnings summary on either the time of each payment or in an easily seen location.
The Act requires stringent record-keeping practices. Firms must maintain records for six (6) years from the date a Worker’s employment ended or six (6) years from the date the contract ended. If a Worker requests copies of his or her records, then the Firm must furnish those records to the Worker within five (5) days of the request at no cost to the Worker. Furthermore, specific records must be maintained including, but not limited to information on each Client, information on each Worker sent to the Client’s location, wage deductions, and all contracts and notices.
Under the Act, the Firm is prohibited from interfering with a Client’s offer or a Worker’s acceptance of converting to a permanent employee. There are a number of other provisions that apply to the Firm if they are engaged in certain activity. For example, if the Firm transports the Worker to and from the work site, then the Firm is exposed to joint and several liability with the party transporting the Worker.
If you’re a Client of a Temporary Help Service Firm, there are requirements and information that specifically applies to you. Here is what you need to know:
First, and most importantly, the Client is required to reimburse the Firm for wages and taxes paid to the Worker.
Clients are required to confirm that a Firm is certified before signing a contract with the Firm. This information can be found on the Division of Consumer Affairs website, as stated above. Additionally, the Client must confirm that the Firm is certified every March 1 and September 1.
The Client should be aware of the Payment of Wages requirements that apply to the Firms, which is listed above in the Payment of Wages section.
If a Worker is contracted for a single day, then the Client is required to furnish a work verification approved by the Commissioner. This verification will include the Worker’s name, the work location, and the amount of hours worked.
Even though Firms are required to maintain records for six (6) years, the Statute is silent as to how long Clients are required to maintain records. Nonetheless, it is in the Client’s best interest to match the Firm’s requirement and keep the records for six (6) years as well.
The Act is going to shake things up for Firms and Clients. Likewise, both parties should review and develop policies and agreements to ensure compliance before the Act takes effect.