On August 4, 2023, Governor Pritzker signed into law a recent overhaul of the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (the “Act”). Since the Act was passed in 2000, the number of low-wage day or temporary laborers (“Temporary Workers”) in Illinois has more than doubled, rising from approximately 300,000 to 650,000. The recent amendments to the Act impose new responsibilities on staffing agencies and companies utilizing temporary workers to meet their staffing needs.
The recent amendments to the Act create new obligations on staffing agencies, including for example, allowing staffing agency employees the right to refuse an assignment to a third-party employer experiencing a labor dispute (strike, lockout, or other labor dispute).
Most significantly, any employee of a staffing agency who is assigned to a third-party client for more than 90 days must be “paid a rate and benefits equal to those of the lowest paid directly hired employee of the client with the same level of seniority who is performing the same or substantially similar work.” If there is not a comparable employee, then the temporary employee must be paid “an equal rate and equal benefits to the lowest paid directly hired employee with the closest level of seniority to the applicable temporary employee.” Upon request, a third-party client, where a temporary employee has been assigned for more than 90 days, must provide the staffing agency with relevant information regarding their directly hired employees’ job duties, pay, and benefits.
In addition, before a Temporary Employee can begin to work for a client company, the client company must: (1) document and inform the temporary employee and staffing agency about anticipated job hazards; (2) review the safety training provided by the staffing agency to determine if it adequately addresses known industry hazards; (3) provide specific training tailored to the client company’s worksite; and (4) document site-specific training and provide the staffing agency with confirmation that the training occurred within three business days of providing the training. A staffing agency must also provide safety information and training to its employees prior to placing such employees at a third-party site. Further, the client company must allow the staffing agency to visit the worksite to confirm that the training and information provided to the temp was adequate.
The Act includes the right for any “interested party” to file a civil action, penalties, and recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses if they have a “reasonable belief” that there has been a violation of the Act within the preceding three years. “Interested party” is defined broadly to include any “organization that monitors or is attentive to compliance with public or worker safety laws, wage and hour requirements, or other statutory requirements.” An “interested party” must submit a complaint to the Illinois Department of Labor and in turn can be issued a notice of right to sue. If successful, an “interested party” will get 10% of the assessed penalties (which can range from $100 to $18,000 per violation), plus attorneys’ fees and expenses associated with bringing the action. The Illinois Attorney General can also seek to suspend or revoke the registration of a staffing agency for violations of the Act.
Staffing agencies and companies that utilize temporary workers should update their policies and practices immediately. Dykema will continue to monitor any further guidance and additional developments under the Act. If you have any questions about the Act, or your obligations, responsibilities, or requirements under it, please contact the authors of this article or a member of Dykema’s Labor and Employment team.