Thursday, September 4, 2008

The New Temp Workers’ Rule

For good or ill (for some), Governor Schwarzenegger did it again.

The controversial governor, known for signing into effect, controversial, not to mention queer, attention-magnet laws (no pun intended) has signed into law a law which will change the way temp workers are paid in California.

The new law, which will take into effect in January, requires temporary service agencies to pay temps every end of the week instead of every other week. If the temps work on a day-to-day basis, such temp will have to be paid daily – not weekly, more so not monthly.

But when is one a temporary employee, or temp for brevity? You are a temp if you are under the employ of a temporary services employer.

So what is a “temporary services employer”? The New Labor Code holds the answer. It defines TSE as an employing unit that contracts with clients or customers to supply workers to perform services for such clients or customers.

Your employer is a TSE and consequently you are a temp, if your employer does the following, among others:

• Negotiates with clients and customers for matters such as the time and place where the services are to rendered, the type of work, condition, quality and price of the service
• Determines assignments or reassignments of workers, even if workers retain the right to refuse assignments
• Retains the authority to assign or reassign a worker to another client or customer when the worker is determined unacceptable by a specific client or customer
• Assigns or reassigns workers to perform services for clients or customers
• Sets the rate of pay of workers, whether or not through negotiation
• Pays workers form its own account or accounts
• Retains the right to hire and terminate workers

But there are instances when you may look like you’re a temp but under the law, you’re not. You are not a temp if your employer is one of the following:

1. a bona fide non profit organization that provides temporary service employees to its clients
2. a farm labor contractor as defined under the law
3. garment manufacturer which can be considered as “contractor”

The new law, to reiterate, applies to temp employees. Basically, the heart of the law is the requirement that you should be paid weekly, not another week after. If it’s day to day work – then at the end of each day.

Of course, needless to say that there are some ambiguous parts of the law that an ordinary temp employee may not fully understand, such as when exactly is payment due, what are the conditions, how about the rules on striker replacements, etc.

In this regard, and in any issues of law for that matter, it is still ideal to consult with a qualified and competent employment law attorney in California to avoid being taken advantage by some unscrupulous employers, TSE or not.