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New Law Increases Protections for Temp Workers

Posted on in Business Law

Arlington Heights business law attorneyIn today’s American economy, there is a dramatic difference between unemployment and underemployment. Unemployment, generally speaking, is tracked by government watchdog groups as an indicator of economic growth and usually takes into account those who are not currently working but are looking for jobs. Underemployment, by comparison, is much more difficult to quantify and refers to those who may be working but who are still having trouble making ends meet.

Temporary workers—also known as temps or day laborers—are often considered to be among the underemployed. On any given day, they may have jobs, but those jobs are not guaranteed and can quickly disappear. In an effort to help protect the rights of temp workers, Illinois lawmakers recently passed a measure that requires temp agencies to be more forthcoming about the type of work a temp will be doing and more aggressive about placing temps in permanent positions.

The Role of Temp Agencies

Throughout Northern Illinois, many factories and warehouses rely almost exclusively on temporary staffing agencies to provide relatively cheap part-time workers to meet their staffing needs. In some cases, individuals may work for the same company for several years as a temp—technically as employees of the temp agency instead of the company itself. This often means the company spends less than it would in hiring the temp full-time and being forced to provide benefits and to carry workers’ compensation coverage on the individual.

A New Approach

As both the company and the temp agency tend to benefit in such situations at the expense of the worker, there has been little impetus for change until the state legislature took action. Under the new law, temp agencies must try to place a temp worker into a permanent position at a client’s company when such positions become available. In addition, the agency may not charge the temp worker for background checks, drug test, or credit checks that may be necessary for placing a worker, even for a permanent position.

While the new law also requires demographic recordkeeping to address concerns of preventing racial discrimination, its other main focus is on keeping temp workers safe. A temp agency will be required to provide temp workers with detailed information about the type of work he or she will be doing “and the types of equipment, protective clothing, and training that are required for the task.” The goal is to have temps who are better prepared for their tasks and to eliminate on-the-job safety risks as much as possible.

The new law is set to take effect on June 1, 2018. Lawmakers have said they will address issues related temp workers’ wages in the upcoming months.

Get Help With Your Hiring Strategies

If your company works closely with temporary staffing agencies and you have questions about how the new law could affect your business, contact our office to speak with an experienced Arlington Heights business law attorney. Call 847-749-4182 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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