Temporary Workers Right to Know Act Detailed Summary
A Temporary Workers Right to Know
Lead sponsors: Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry and Senator Jack Hart
Passed by the Massachusetts Legislature, July 30, 2012
Signed into law by Governor Patrick on August 6, 2012
To take effect on January 31, 2013
1. Protects Workers Through The Right to Know Basic Information About Their Job
Staffing agencies will be required to provide employees key information about their job which includes:
1) the name, address and telephone number of the staffing agency, its workers compensation carrier, the worksite employer, and the Department of Labor Standards (DLS);
2) the kind and type of job, including any requirement for special clothing, accessories, tools, equipment, training, or licenses and any costs charged to the employee;
3) the designated pay day and the actual hourly rate of pay, overtime pay and compensation;
4) the daily starting time, anticipated end time, and, where known, how long the job will last; and
5) any meals provided by the staffing agency or worksite employer and the costs of such meals, details of and costs for transportation required or offered to the employee by the staffing agency, the worksite employer or any person acting on either’s behalf; and any other fees charged to the employee.
Job information must be confirmed in writing before the end of the first pay period. The law must be posted in a conspicuous place in a language the workers can understand. The notice provisions do not apply to secretaries, administrative assistants, or “professionals” broadly defined.
2. Regulates Fees That a Staffing Agency or Worksite Employer Charges a Temp Worker
1) prohibits charging an employee for the cost of registering with the state, or procuring a job, or a CORI request;
2) requires a written contract in a language that the worker can understand that provides that fees are voluntary and not for profit,
3) limits the costs of bank cards, other forms of payment, and drug screens to the actual cost to the staffing agency;
4) limits transportation costs (which is already the law for all staffing agencies),
5) prohibits fees and costs that would reduce a worker’s pay to below the minimum wage, and
6) requires the staffing agency to reimburse a worker if it sends him/her to a worksite for the purposes of working and no work is in fact available.
3. Prohibits Illegal Acts
The prohibitions include false advertising or advertising with an unregistered name, assignments to worksites violating the law including licensure or certification, or on strike or lockout without informing the employee of this fact, refusing to return on demand personal property, and charging fees or costs in excess of that allowed by this law. Workers are protected against retaliation for exercising their rights under the act.
4. Provides Enforcement by the Department of Labor Standards; Penalties and Legal Remedies
DLS, which currently is responsible for registering staffing agencies, will issue regulations and carry out inspections and investigations for purposes of enforcement. Penalties and legal remedies are those already imposed on employers who violate the wage law.
The REAL (Reform Employment Agency Law) Coalition:
The REAL Coalition brought together temporary workers, worker centers, employers, community groups, unions and labor organizations, legal groups and concerned residents to promote fairness, transparency and accountability in the temporary industry by advocating for the passage of the Temporary Worker’s Right to Know Act.
The REAL Coalition will continue to work with the state Department of Labor Standards and Office of the Attorney General to help ensure that that Temporary Worker’s Right to Know Act achieves its goal of protecting temporary workers and ensuring fairness for law-abiding employers.
The REAL Coalition includes:
Alliance to Develop Power, Boston Staffing Alliance, Boston Workmen's Circle, Brazilian Immigrant Center
Brazilian Women’s Group, Coalition Against Poverty/Coalition for Social Justice (CAP/CSJ)
Centro Presente, CEDC Southeastern Mass., Central Mass. AFL-CIO, Centro Comunitario de los Trabajadores of New Bedford (CCT), Chelsea Collaborative, Chinese Progressive Association, Community Labor United
Construction Institute, Fall River Democratic Action Committee, Greater Boston Labor Council
Greater Boston Legal Services, Greater Southeastern Mass. Labor Council, Hampden Central Labor Council
Havurat Shalom, HERE Local 26, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, New England Jewish Labor Committee, Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts
Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Massachusetts Bar Association, Massachusetts Building Trades Council
Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, Massachusetts Employment Rights Coalition, Mass. Global Action
Mass. Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council, MetroWest Worker Center
MIRA, Neighborhood Legal Services, New England Regional Carpenters Council, New Sanctuary Movement,
North Shore Labor Council, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35, Pioneer Valley Labor Council, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 615, South Coastal Legal Services
The Labor Guild of the Archdiocese, UAW MA State CAP Council, UAW 2320, UFCW Local 1445