Massachusetts Enacts New Law to Protect Temporary Workers

Massachusetts’ latest employee rights law was signed by Governor Deval Patrick on August 6, 2012. The law, which was promoted by the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Workplace Safety Task Force, imposes formal requirements on staffing agencies to disclose information to the temporary workers they place on job sites. Its purpose, according the the MBA, is to protect vulnerable, low-wage workers from exploitation that can arise through failures to provide basic wage and other information to temporary workers. 

The new law is captioned as “An Act extablishing a temporary workers right to know.” It requires that staffing agencies provide to each employee placed on a new assignment notice of the name, address and phone number of staffing agency contacts; workers’ compensation insurance carrier  information; a job description, pay rate, and date of expected pay; and details regarding transportation to the worksite, among other things. The information must be provided prior to the end of a worker’s first pay period, and othe restrictions on staffing agency conduct apply. The new law does not apply to professional workers, secretaries or administrative assistants. Violators can be punished by substantial fines and may be subject to criminal prosecution.