Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Aug. 4 signed into law regulations requiring staffing firms to provide temporary workers with pay equal to that of directly employed workers. Meanwhile, a group of staffing organizations has appealed a New Jersey law mandating equal pay for temps, among other provisions, which went into effect over the weekend.

Illinois Law in Effect, But Regulations Pending

Illinois’ regulations affect industrial contingent workers, and the provision related to equal pay for contingent workers is similar to New Jersey’s law, which took effect Aug. 5.

While the Illinois law is already in effect, the exact final regulations have not been released. However, the equal pay regulations take effect only after a contingent worker has been on a worksite for 90 days.

The official wording that calls for equal pay reads, in part:

“Equal pay for equal work. A day or temporary laborer who is assigned to work at a third-party client for more than 90 calendar days shall be paid not less than the rate of pay and equivalent benefits as the lowest paid directly hired employee of the third-party client with the same level of seniority at the company and performing the same or substantially similar work on jobs the performance of which requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions.”

Staffing organizations have raised questions about how to implement equal pay and how to define similar work. Questions also remain about cost of benefits, including what kinds of benefits are covered, all of which could affect a contingent workforce program’s costs.

“Our biggest concern is that there are still a lot of questions in regards to interpretations and definitions that we have to answer in order to implement this,” said Toby Malara, VP of government relations at the American Staffing Association.

A worker group called the Chicago Workers Collaborative lauded the bill and said it passed the Illinois Senate by a bipartisan 49-3 vote and the Illinois House with a 72-36 vote.

Legislation sponsor Rep. Edgard Gonzalez, D-Chicago, said in a Chicago Workers Collaborative press release that the regulations will mean an average of $4 more per hour for thousands of contingent workers in his district.

New Jersey Law in Effect While Court Battle Continues

Meanwhile, New Jersey’s law mandating equal pay for temps went into effect Aug. 5, while a lawsuit against it continues in the courts. Staffing industry groups are filing an appeal over a federal judge’s ruling against putting the law on hold while it goes through the courts, according to court filings. The law contains a requirement that temporary workers from staffing firms receive pay equal to that of directly employed workers, among other provisions.

The New Jersey Staffing Alliance, the American Staffing Association and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association are filing the appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

In a previous statement, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association noted that while it does not oppose the intent of the law to provide protection and transparency to temporary workers, provisions regarding wages and benefits will cause “insurmountable problems” for staffing firms and drive many out of business.