New Jersey’s employment laws protect workers in this state from unlawful discrimination and retaliation, guarantee a minimum wage for many employees, and ensure that they will receive overtime pay for overtime work. In order for an individual to enjoy many of these legal protections, however, an employer-employee relationship must exist. Certain employment arrangements do not meet many legal definitions of “employment,” leaving some workers with no recourse if their employers underpay them or subject them to other forms of unfair treatment. A new law in New Jersey, the Temporary Worker Bill of Rights (TWBOR), will expand legal protections for workers employed by temporary staffing agencies. The law will take effect in two stages later this year.
The bill that became the TWBOR, A1474, made its way through the New Jersey Legislature for over a year before it finally became law in February 2023. The Assembly addressed the need for the law in the section on findings and declarations. More than 127,000 workers in New Jersey are employed by temporary staffing agencies. This includes around one hundred licensed agencies and an unknown number of unlicensed ones.
Temporary workers receive pay from their agencies for work performed for clients. According to AB1474, they earn an average of 41% less than employees who perform similar work as part of a formal employment relationship. Black and Latino workers are overrepresented among temporary workers when compared to overall employment in New Jersey. Temporary workers are generally more vulnerable to a wide range of exploitative or abusive practices, hence the need for the TWBOR.