ASA Legal Analysis
Massachusetts Staffing Bill Enacted American Staffing Association (08/02/12) Stephen Dwyer
After almost a year of political wrangling, on Monday the Massachusetts state senate passed HB 4304, which requires staffing firms doing business in the state to send temporary employees written notice of each assignment’s wage rate, the starting and end times of the assignment, and the expected duration of the assignment, among other things. The bill also prohibits staffing firms from charging temporary employees for certain items and services and prohibits fraudulent conduct. The bill now goes to Gov. Deval Patrick, who is expected to sign it, and the law will take effect Jan. 31, 2013.
The American Staffing Association and the Massachusetts Staffing Association, an ASA-affiliated chapter, along with lobbyists Roger Donoghue and Tara O’Donnell of Donoghue, Barrett & Singal PC, engaged in prolonged advocacy efforts that resulted in “professional” employees, secretaries, and administrative assistants being exempted from the notice requirements.
The advocacy efforts also resulted in numerous onerous provisions being struck from the bill. As originally drafted, the bill would have prohibited staffing firms from charging reasonable fees for services, including permanent placement fees; prohibited staffing firms from sending candidate résumés to clients to generate jobs; imposed potential rate caps; required staffing firms to provide meals, lodging, and transportation expenses to out-of-state workers whose temporary assignments were cancelled through no fault of the staffing firm; and imposed severe penalties, no matter how small the violation or whether the violation was inadvertent. None of these provisions is included in the bill that passed the legislature.
In the coming months, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards will propose regulations to implement the law. ASA and MSA plan to meet with the agency to express the industry’s remaining concerns and provide input into the regulatory process.
In the meantime, staffing firms doing business in Massachusetts should become familiar with HB 4304′s requirements and discuss them with their legal counsel so as to be in compliance when the law takes effect. Staffing firms in the state should also continue to meet with their legislators to educate them about their businesses and the staffing industry so as to help prevent future harmful legislation.
Stephen C. Dwyer General Counsel American Staffing Association 277 S. Washington St., Suite 200 Alexandria, VA 22314-3675 703-253-2020 703-253-2037 direct 703-253-2053 fax firstname.lastname@example.org americanstaffing.net