New Illinois laws regulating temporary workers criticized by business groups

By Kevin Bessler, The Center Square – 

(The Center Square) – Legislation significantly increasing regulations on Illinois businesses who use temporary workers, including mandating pay rates, is now law. Business groups say the law will have negative consequences.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed the Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act into law. The measure restricts the practice of so-called “permatemping,” where workers are kept in temporary assignments for long periods of time. The act, which goes into effect immediately, requires temporary workers assigned to work for more than 90 days to be paid the same as a full-time employee.

The Chicago Workers Collective and other worker advocates strongly pushed for the legislation.

Andrew Herrara, spokesman for the Chicago Workers Collaborative, said those workers will get an immediate raise.

“There will be hundreds of thousands of workers that this will apply to who will be making $4 more per hour, which you can imagine is a major quality of life difference,” said Herrera.

The law also ensures that all temp workers have the right to refuse a strikebreaking assignment without being retaliated against, and increases funding for enforcement through increased fees and increased fines for employers who violate the act.

Opponents argued it is likely the 90-day requirement will discourage third-party clients from working with particular temporary laborers on a long-term basis.

Brad Tietz, vice president of Government Relations and Strategy with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said there are a lot of concerns regarding the new law.

“Because the negotiation process was flawed on this, it has led to a bill that we believe is going to cause a lot of companies that have relied on staffing firms, they’re no longer going to use these staffing agencies,” Tietz told The Center Square.

Other groups opposed to the legislation included the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Trucking Association.

New Jersey is the only other state with a similar law.

A separate law Illinois business groups opposed that Pritzker also signed Friday, House Bill 1122, creates the Freelance Worker Protection Act. The governor’s office said the law, which goes into effect July 1, 2024, aims to “protect freelance workers from intimidation, harassment, and discrimination from hiring parties, requires timely compensation and requires employers to provide freelance workers with written contracts.”

More on this at ” Immediate Changes to Illinois’ Day & Temporary Services Act