However, an Illinois lawmaker is hoping to change this by instituting a bill designed to increase protections for temporary workers.
Safety concerns for temporary workers has been a hot topic as of late. With the economy moving out of the recession, and businesses growing exponentially, there has been a substantial increase in manpower needed to meet demand. Unfortunately, safety regulators haven’t kept pace with the influx and many procedures that should be in place simply are not. Regulatory bodies, such as OSHA, are grossly understaffed, and jobsites are rarely inspected. There has been a large number of workers suffering injuries and many deaths have also been reported.
However, an Illinois lawmaker is hoping to change this by instituting a bill designed to increase protections for temporary employees. The bill would also allow the state to track the number of workers who move into full time, permanent positions. This bill, titled the Responsible Job Creation Act, was partially filed in response to a 2013 ProPublica investigation into the jobsite dangers temporary workers face. The increase in reported mishaps prompted the investigation as growing concerns for the safety of these workers were made more evident, and investigators discovered that contract employees were at significantly higher risk of experiencing job related injuries. These workers simply aren’t been treated the same as full-time staff, especially those here illegally, and, unfortunately, are often viewed as expendable.
There has also been significant evidence that these workers are having difficulties when searching for permanent employment, too, which the bill seeks to address. This has been caused in part by employers hoping to dodge paying health insurance for full-time workers. Other companies are simply afraid of retaining an individual because of stricter laws or feeling as if this person needs to be retained even if business is down and there’s limited work. Recent studies suggest that while the unemployment rate is lower than it’s been in years, workers are still tied to temporary positions. Nearly all of the economic growth over the past ten years has been generated due to the efforts of contracted workers, as well as those employed on a by gig or contingent basis or just on-call as needed.
Because of the current work structure, individuals are having their temp contracts renewed time and again, but are constantly needing to refile the same paperwork. They are not “hired in” to their positions. They must find employment through staffing agencies, and return to these agencies whenever it’s time to move on to the next. Their resumes are sorted and many have gaps during periods in which new contracts were not available. Part-time employment is actually higher than it was before the economy tanked, and these individuals do not enjoy the same salaries and benefits as their full-time colleagues. The Responsible Job Creation Act calls for employers to compensate third party hires the same as permanent staff and to allow them to enjoy benefits identical to their permanent counterparts.
Because hiring managers will now have to comply to the same standards regardless if an employee is a third party contractor or employed directly, the bill increases the incentive for companies to hire direct. Passing this legislation will hopefully aid in a shift back to retaining employees and treating them how they should be treated.