Basic rights for temporary workers? NJ biz group says it could backfire

One measure, A1474, which could soon be approved by the State Senate, calls for the introduction of a bill of rights for agency workers.

It was designed to protect temporary workers, but New Jersey’s leading corporate group warns that the exact opposite could happen.

According to Alexis Bailey, vice president of government affairs for the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, the bill would include additional notifications for temporary workers about their work assignments and locations, which is good, but there are concerns about the provisions in the measure dealing with compensation and benefits.

She said the legislation requires a temporary worker to be paid the same average rate of pay as someone doing a similar job at the company and receive the average cash equivalent for benefits that the average worker receives.

colleagues in the office

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That’s a problem

She pointed out that if a company has many workers with different salaries, “this could really have an unintended consequence that temp workers aren’t being paid as much as someone doing exactly the same entry-level job, but the average of everyone workers who may have more experience than them.”

In other words, that could mean that a temp worker ends up earning a higher salary with more benefits than a full-time employee doing the same job.

“It’s going to be a bad thing in the sense that we’re going to have the unintended consequence of making it harder to hire temp workers just because of the costs this bill will impose on third-party companies that employ temp workers,” she said.

Too expensive

“We believe this will drive up the cost of hiring temporary workers to the point that companies will find it difficult to fill their current employment gaps.”

She said temp agencies work with multiple companies and “offer different benefit packages, and those packages can include everything from 401(k) matches and health insurance to vacation days and life insurance policies. Calculating and providing payment for the average cost of these benefit packages will be a logistical burden.”

The State Senate is scheduled to vote on the measure on Monday.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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