Temp staffing agencies hire workers for temporary jobs at host companies, and the staffing agency is the employer of record for the job’s duration. Though initially introduced for short-term needs, staffing agencies are increasingly providing workers for long-term engagements. As temp work has grown, job quality has deteriorated; temp workers earn 20 to 25 percent less an hour than those in permanent direct-hire positions. Abusive practices combined with a severe shortage of legal protections in the temp staffing field create dangerous and substandard working conditions, disproportionately affecting Black and Latinx workers. This fact sheet, extracted from the report Reimagining Workplace Protections: A Policy Agenda to Meet Independent Contractors’ and Temporary Workers’ Needs, highlights key challenges faced by temp workers and offers actionable policy solutions.
The Urban Institute, The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, and A Better Balance are collaborating on an initiative to strengthen protections for workers in nonstandard jobs. This fact sheet is part of that ongoing collaboration.
The current system of workplace protections in the US leaves behind millions of independent contractors. These workers face high risks of discrimination, wage theft, and economic insecurity, yet have few legal protections to mediate these risks.