Many employers rely on the services of employment, placement, and staffing agencies to help them meet short-term staffing needs or to help them find the right person for a job.
Only work with agencies that are properly licensed or registered.
Agencies are regulated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and must be either licensed or registered in accordance with the Employment Agency Law (M.G.L. c. 140, §§46A-46R) and Regulation (454 CMR 24.00). Only work with agencies that are properly licensed or registered.
Currently licensed and registered agencies are listed in this list: Licensed Employment Agencies and Registered Placement Agencies List. Staffing agencies and their clients (work site employers) are subject to the Temporary Workers Right to Know Law (M.G.L. c. 149, §159C), which requires that staffing agencies provide workers with certain, basic information about their work assignments, and notify workers of their rights under the Temporary Workers Right to Know Law. The law also sets limitations on the amounts and types of fees that staffing agencies and work site employers can charge workers, and certain activities on that part of staffing agencies are prohibited by law.
Obligations of worksite employers under the temporary workers right to know law
The Temporary Workers Right to Know Law prohibits staffing agencies and their clients (work site employers) from charging job applicants or workers, who are provided by staffing agencies, certain fees. These prohibited fees/charges include: The cost of registering with the staffing agency or providing the job applicant/worker with employment; drug screens, bank/debit card, or other form of payment that are higher than the cost to the staffing agency/work site employer; CORI check (Massachusetts criminal record information check) as provided by the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS); any good or service, unless the job applicant/worker, sent by the staffing agency to your work site, has signed a written contract that makes clear that it is voluntary and that the staffing agency/work site employer will not profit from the fee charged; any good or service that would cause the job applicant/worker to earn less than the Massachusetts minimum wage. Finally, transportation costs that:
- are greater than the actual cost of the transportation,
- are higher than 3% of the total daily wages, or
- reduce the job applicant/worker’s wages below minimum wage are prohibited.
- if a job applicant or worker is required to use specific transportation to get to the work site, no fees can be charged.
- The laws regulating employment, placement, and staffing agencies do not regulate fees that employment or staffing agencies can charge to clients/worksite employers for their services.
- Keeping temporary workers safe is a shared responsibility between agencies and worksite employers.
- Beware of working with unscrupulous agencies engaging in illegal behavior, such as paying a worker less than the minimum wage, or supplying workers to you who do not have the proper licensure or certification required to perform a job. These are illegal activities, violations of which can result in civil fines up to $15,000 or $25,000 for willful violations and will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division.
The Department of Labor Standards inspects the records and premises of employment, placement, and staffing agencies and investigates complaints.
Additional Resources for Obligations of worksite employers under the temporary workers right to know law
Who is responsible for keeping temporary workers safe?
OSHA Webinar: Protecting the safety and health of temporary workers
Webinar presented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Staffing Association July 18, 2013 as part of OSHA’s initiative to protect temporary workers.
Recommended practices for protecting temporary workers
Best practices for protecting temporary workers from NIOSH and OSHA
OSHA Bulletin: Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements – Temporary Workers
Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries involving contractor worker fatalities, including temporary help service workers, accounted for 708 or 16% of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in the U.S. reported in 2012. Additional details are available at http://bls.gov/iif/home.htm.