The premise of the Employment Agency Statute is that all employment agencies-in the broadest sense of that term-must be licensed. However, some agencies may meet the exceptions listed in M.G.L. c. 140, § 46A, and if they meet any one or all of the exceptions, they must be registered pursuant to Sections 46B and 46Q, as well as 801 CMR 4.02:454(1)(2).

There are three (3) statutory exceptions to licensure:

Exception # 1: Any agency that does not charge fees to job applicants or workers may be registered. This exception, however, does not apply to agencies placing domestic employees. These agencies must still be licensed unless they can show that they fall within the second or third exception.

Exception # 2: Any agency that employs workers directly AND only provides part-time or temporary help to others may be registered. This exception would apply even if an agency charges applicant fees and/or if an agency places domestic employees.

Exception # 3: Any agency that only provides to employers or prospective employers, by electronic means, biographical information, background, and experience of applicants for temporary employment, help, or engagement may be registered. This exception does not apply, however, if the agency in any way attempts to connect prospective workers with specific employers or clients seeking their services.

In September of 2006, the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) issued a policy clarifying the licensing requirements of the Employment Agency Program, M.G.L. § 140, § 46A.

The Employment Agency Statute establishes several different requirements for licensed agencies and registered agencies.

DLS Requirements for Licensed Agencies

  • Participate in a hearing of application for an initial licensure application.
  • Prove that the license applicant(s) is a person of good moral character and responsibility.
  • Operate within in a suitable location, verified by an initial site inspection by DLS.
  • Post the Employment Agency License in a conspicuous place within the agency.
  • Post a copy of the Employment Agency Law in a conspicuous place within the agency.
  • Maintain a surety bond payable to the "people of the Commonwealth," filed with DLS.
  • Comply with DLS' agency inspection schedule, required every 6 months.
  • Maintain records and files of agency activities in accordance with the Statute.
  • Understand and follow all the provisions of the Statute.
  • Submit an annual application with supporting documentation.
  • Remit a non-refundable annual license application fee for each agency location.

DOS Requirements for Registered Agencies

  • Submit an annual application with supporting documentation.
  • Remit a non-refundable annual registration application fee for each agency location.
  • Permit agency inspections by DLS at any time during normal business hours.
  • Keep Registration certificate at the agency location and make available to any worker, job applicant, or DLS Compliance Officer that wishes to see it.

Not sure if you should be licensed or registered? Complete the application! Your answers to the questions asked will determine which category applies to your agency based on what types of jobs you find for job applicants and how you operate your business.