New IL law to protect labor rights of day laborers

Public Act 94 -0511 (HB 3471), Illinois’ new Day Labor act went into effect January 1, 2006. This act is designed to fill a gap in labor protection laws.
The National Law Employment Project has said that the majority of workplace laws protecting day laborers and temporary workers were written for full-time, permanent employees. The short-term nature of the day labor and sub-contracting pose significant barriers to enforcement of laws and the workers do not receive the same benefits or wages as full-time permanent employees performing the same work.
Temporary employment agencies are integral to the day labor market. According to the Governor’s press release:

Although there are approximately 150 registered day and temporary labor service agencies with nearly 600 branch offices registered with the state, there are also many unlicensed agencies in Illinois.

Provisions of the Act include (per a press release from Governor’s Rod Blagojevich’s office):
Requiring agencies to provide workers with detailed employment and wage notices, which can be inspected by the IDOL;
Protecting day laborers’ paychecks from unreasonable deductions for meals and equipment;
Requiring agencies to pay workers for lost time when they are sent to a job, only to be sent back because the agency sent too many workers;
Requiring employers that contract with day or temporary labor agencies to verify that they are registered with IDOL or face monetary penalties;
Prohibiting agencies from charging workers fees for transportation between the agency and the job site and requiring that such transportation meet basic safety standards; and
Prohibiting agencies from retaliating or discriminating against a worker who exercises his or her rights under the Act and giving workers the right to sue for damages when harmed by violations.
This new law will allow IDOL to impose a $500 penalty against a day labor agency for each day it is not registered. For all other violations, the department may fine first-time violators up to $6,000 and repeat violators up to $2,500 per violation per day. To pay for increased enforcement of the day and temporary labor industry, the legislation increases agency registration fees to $1,000 and adds a fee of $250 per branch office.
The state has a hot line to report problems: 877-314-7052. Or, to file a complaint or get information go online. The reporting systems are described on the website of the IL Department of Labor’s webpage on day labor.

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