A New Bill Amending the Illinois Day and Temporary Services Act Offers Better Protections for Day and Temp Workers
On May 19, 2023, the Illinois General Assembly passed significant amendments to the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (“the Act”). The amendments to the Act, known as the Temp Worker Fairness and Protection Act (TWFPA), protects day and temporary workers in Illinois from common violations including unpaid wages, unlawful deductions, and other labor violations. The changes from the TWFPA will go into effect immediately upon Governor Pritzker’s signature. Here is a brief overview of the major changes that will impact staffing agencies and third-party clients that work with staffing agencies.
Right to Refuse Assignments
The Act will allow day or temporary workers to refuse an assignment if the client is in a labor dispute with its employees. A staffing agency cannot send a worker to a third-party client with a “strike, a lockout, or other labor trouble … without providing, at or before the time of dispatch, a statement, in writing, and in a language that the day and temporary worker understands, informing the day or temporary worker of the labor dispute and the day or temporary worker’s right to refuse the assignment without prejudice to receiving another assignment.” In short, workers can refuse to work at a client site with a labor dispute.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
The TWFPA amends the Act by guaranteeing day and temporary workers equal pay for the work being performed. If a worker is assigned to a “third-party client for more than 90 calendar days” then the worker will be entitled to the same “pay and equivalent benefits” as the lowest paid worker of the third-party client with the same level of seniority performing substantially similar work with the substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility. If there is no comparative worker, then the worker must be paid the rate of pay and equivalent benefits as the lowest paid direct worker with similar seniority at the third-party client. Equivalent benefits may be paid through an “hourly cash equivalent of the actual cost benefits in lieu of benefits.”
Third-party clients “shall be obligated to timely provide the day and temporary labor service agency with all the necessary information related to job duties, pay, and benefits of directly hired employees necessary” staffing agencies to comply with these changes. Failure to comply will be a “notice violation” of the Act (compensatory damages and an amount up to $500 for the violation).
The TWFPA also amends the Act by requiring staffing agencies to provide additional oversight of its day and temporary worker’s safety at third-party client worksites. Prior to sending any worker to a third-party work site, the staffing agency must comply with several new requirements:
- Inquire about the client’s safety, health practices, and hazards at the worksite. Clients must provide access to the worksite and staffing agencies must provide notice to the client of any concerns.
- Provide training to workers to address recognized industry hazards they may encounter at the client’s worksite.
- Notify the company of the training provided to the workers.
- Provide the Illinois Department of Labor (DOL) hotline number for a worker to call and report safety concerns.
- Inform the worker of who they should report safety concerns to at the worksite.
In addition to the staffing agency obligations, third-party clients must also do the following:
- Inform the staffing agency of any anticipated job hazards.
- Review the safety training provided by the staffing agency to ensure it is adequate.
- Provide specific training for the job hazards in the client’s industry and allow the staffing agency to observe such training.
- Maintain records of the training that was provided and notify the staffing agency within three days.
If there are any changes in the worker’s job duties, all parties must evaluate what, if any, new hazards may exist and provide sufficient training and equipment to address these changes.
The changes clarify that the Attorney General may seek an order from a court to suspend or revoke a staffing agency’s license to operate.
In addition, the TWFPA amends the Act to allow an “Interested Party,” an organization that monitors or is attentive to compliance with public or worker safety laws, wage and hour requirements, or other statutory requirements, to notify the DOL of a violation of the Act. The process may allow the Interested Party to file a civil suit to enforce the Act. The Interested Party would be eligible to recover 10% of the statutory penalties assessed, attorneys’ fees, and expenses.
Increase in Fees and Penalties
There are also changes to the fees and penalties imposed on staffing agencies.
- The fees to register increased from $1,000 to $3,000 and increased from $250 to $750 for each branch office.
- Penalties for first time violations found in an audit or by a court are not less than $100 and not more than $18,000 (increased from $6,000).
- The fines for repeat violations were increased to not less than $500 and not more than $7,500.
- The staffing agency’s clients are also subject to penalties of not less than $100 and not more than $1,500 for each day a third-party contracts with an unregistered staffing agency.
The Act also specifies that there is a separate and distinct violation for each day or each worker, as applicable, in which a violation continues.
These changes will have significant impact on the relationship between staffing agencies and their clients. Companies should begin making appropriate changes to their contracts, policies, and training. Companies should also consider the best way to handle wage and benefit data now to stay in compliance.
Walker Lawrence chairs Levin Ginsburg’s employment law practice and has extensive experience with employment law and corporate counseling. Should you have any questions about navigating these changes, feel free to contact Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or any Levin Ginsburg attorney at 312-368-0100.
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