Illinois Public Radio Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation meant to increase workplace protections for temporary workers. Temp agencies will be required to give their workers information about equipment, protective clothing and training before sending them to a work place and, if the agency offers transportation to and from work, the service should be free of charge.
These changes, effective in June 2018, are meant to give temporary workers benefits similar to those given to permanent employees. The final measure overlooked issues such as protection from workplace retaliation and wage parity. However, supporters said the approved changes are long-overdue.
Tim Bell, executive director of the Chicago Worker's Collaborative representing temp workers, said Illinois is now a leading example in the temporary labor industry.
"It's one of the few states in the country that really recognizes the changes in the economy and in the labor market," he said, "and it's one of the few states that recognizes that it's jobs where the conditions are dangerous, they're precarious, there's no security, there's no benefits." Next on advocates' agenda is the issue of wage parity. Bell said many temporary workers "end up working a job for 8 years, 10 years, 12 years as a temp -- never getting vacation pay, never getting sick days, getting paid as little as half of what a direct worker makes." Agencies also will be required to make the effort to place workers into permanent jobs and cover the expenses for background checks and drug tests.