A bill is currently being debated by the Massachusetts legislature that would require all employment agencies to register with the state Division of Occupational Safety. It would force agencies to provide workers with written details about worker compensation, transportation, safety and employment duration. Certain professional, scientific and technological services would be exempt from this proposed requirement.
Currently, the state requires licenses for only those agencies that collect fees from workers. Most temporary agencies charge clients, not workers. Under existing law, these agencies register annually with the state, but they don't have to be licensed.Advocates say the legislation would allow the state to better regulate temporary employment agencies and would help prevent illegal work practices that mostly hurt blue-collar employees. Opponents say the law is not necessary and would create too much paperwork.
A hearing was held to discuss the proposal on June 30 in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. Testimony was given from an expert proponent stating that many temporary workers are seriously injured due to lax regulations and are often paid in cash to avoid overtime and other wage laws. An expert opponent said that existing labor laws already protect the rights of workers, and more regulation will only hurt businesses that already play by the rules.
These regulations seek to re-write the laws that govern employment agencies. If they become final, it will mean more regulation of the temporary staffing industry and will provide more protection for vulnerable temporary workers.
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