New Jersey's Temporary Workers' Bill of Rights is First in the Nation to Require Equal Pay for Temporary Workers

Date   Apr 21, 2023

On February 6, 2023, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the “Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights.” This new law, the most expansive of its kind in the nation, provides “temporary workers” with new rights and protections, including the right to receive pay equal to that of regular employees. This law seeks to eliminate pay disparities and increase administrative oversight of temporary staffing agencies. Notice obligations for such agencies, wage and hour requirements and anti-retaliation provisions are among the new protections that will apply to at least 127,000 temporary laborers. The notice requirement and anti-retaliation provisions go into effect on May 7, 2023, and the rest of the Act goes into effect on August 5, 2023.

Definitions of Key Terms under the Law

“temporary worker” is defined as a person who contracts for employment with a temporary help service firm.

A “temporary help service firm” means any person or entity who runs a business which consists of employing individuals directly or indirectly to assign the employed individuals to help the firm’s customers in handling the customers' temporary, excess, or special workloads, and who, in addition to the payment of wages or salaries to the employed individuals, pays federal social security taxes and state and federal unemployment insurance; carries workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law; and sustains responsibility for the actions of the employed individuals while they render services to the firm's customers.

Who is Protected?

The new legal protections apply to temporary workers assigned by a “temporary help service firm” (temp staffing agencies) to perform work in the following occupational categories as designated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Protective Service Workers
  • Construction Laborers
  • Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
  • Helpers, Construction Trades
  • Installation, Maintenance and Repair Occupations
  • Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations
  • Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations
  • Production Occupations 
  • Personal Care and Service Occupations

Notice Requirement

On May 7, 2023, the law requires temporary staffing agencies to provide written notice to temporary workers each time any worker is given new assignment. The notice must be written in English and in the temporary worker’s primary language and must include the following information:

  • The name of the temporary laborer;
  • The name, address and telephone number of the temporary staffing agency, its workers’ compensation carrier, the client employer (i.e., the temporary staffing agency’s client), and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development;
  • The name and nature of the work to be performed;
  • The wages offered;
  • The name and address of the assigned worksite of each temporary laborer;
  • The terms of transportation offered, if applicable;
  • A description of the position and whether it shall require any special clothing, protective equipment, or training, along with any licenses and costs charged to the employee for supplies or training;
  • Whether meals or equipment are provided and who will pay for those costs;
  • The length of the assignment;
  • The amount of sick leave the temporary worker is entitled to; and
  • The schedule for multi-day assignments.

Also, temporary workers assigned to a multi-day assignment must receive at least 48 hours’ advance notice before any change in the schedule, shift, or location of the assignment, when possible.

The Act has an anti-retaliation provision that prohibits retaliation against temporary workers for exercising their rights under the law, which includes filing a complaint with the temporary staffing agency or its client.

Requirements that Will Go Into Effect on August 5, 2023

On August 5, 2023, temporary workers will receive these additional protections:

  • Equal pay – the key provision of the Act – is the requirement that temporary workers must be paid at least the same average rate of pay and have access to the same benefits as the client employer’s regular employees (at the average cost of those benefits or the cash equivalent of them), so long as the temporary workers are performing the same or substantially similar tasks requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility. Although certain deductions may be taken from wages (for meals and equipment, for example), the deductions may not cause the wages to fall below the minimum wage. Violation of this provision may result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation.
  • Wage payment requirements – the client employer must provide a work verification form to temporary workers who work a single day, which should include various pieces of information like the date, the temporary worker’s name, the work location, and the hours worked on that day. Wages must be paid every other week upon request by the temporary worker. Temporary workers assigned to work at a location, but not provided with work, must be paid for a minimum of four hours, unless they are sent to another location, in which case they must be paid for a minimum of two hours. The New Jersey Department of Labor is preparing a model work verification form.
  • No transportation fees – neither staffing agencies nor their clients may charge temporary workers fees for transportation to or from designated work sites.
  • Regulations on agreements temporary staffing agencies have with their clients – the Act prohibits provisions restricting a temporary worker’s ability to be hired in a permanent position with the client employer, but the staffing agency can assess a placement fee, which may not exceed the daily commission rate that the agency would have received over a 60-day period. Client employers must reimburse staffing agencies for the cost of payroll taxes for services performed by temporary workers.
  • Recordkeeping – temporary staffing agencies must keep comprehensive records about all temporary workers for six years, and the client employer must provide the agency with information about the worker (including name and address, specific location of the work performed by the worker, hours worked, and rate of pay) no later than seven days after the last day of the workweek in which the temporary worker performed any work.
  • Private right of action and statute of limitations – temporary workers, temporary staffing agencies and client employers may all file a lawsuit within six years of a violation under the law. Temporary staffing agencies and client employers may be held jointly and severally liable for violations of this new law.

Enforcement and Penalties

For certain violations, temporary service firms may face administrative penalties between $500 and $5,000 per violation. In addition, such violations may result in a firm’s registration with the state being revoked or denied. The new law also provides temporary workers with a private right of action to bring claims in New Jersey superior court within six years of employment with the temporary service firm or from the date that the contract with the firm or third-party client is terminated. The new law makes temporary service firms and the employers who contract with such firms jointly and severally liable for any violations of the wage or placement fee notice provisions.

What Should Employers be Doing?

Temporary service firms and employers utilizing temporary service firms should immediately review their hiring procedures, employment practices and guidelines to ensure compliance with New Jersey’s Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights before May 7, 2023 for the notice requirement and before the August 5th effective date for all the other provisions.

FordHarrison attorneys can help with any part of compliance or if you have questions regarding the provisions or applicability of the new law. For assistance, please contact the authors of this Alert, New Jersey partners Mark Saloman,, and Nicole Falcey,, and New Jersey associate Madjeen Garcon,, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.