LEGISLATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Nearly every state in the nation had laws regulating staffing agency employment in the earlier days of the industry. But the lobbying efforts of staffing agency ownership and management changed that. Despite decades of abuses within the temporary staffing industry, few states have any laws at all to protect workers. There are even 31 states with laws that work specifically against temporary workers.
The successes achieved by temporary workers and their allies have been significant but limited, with three states enacting legislation in recent years. Every move to legislate rights for temporary workers has been met with organized opposition from the temporary staffing industry. The industry even promoted the fight against "providing written notices of job descriptions" to employees.
Legislation has passed where workers have fought back, formed partnerships with local organizations, found allies in state legislators, created a comprehensive legislative/research/communications strategy, and persisted. Temp Worker Justice can help - Contact Us.
CURRENT STATE LAWS
The groundbreaking Day and Temporary Labor Services Act was a passed in 2005 and provided basic rights to temporary workers. These rights included the right to know who they are working for and to have their pay rate in writing. The law was amended and expanded in 2018 with the Responsible Jobs Creation Act, which again passed first-in-the-nation protections against discrimination, wage theft, and permatemping.
California's temp worker protections hold host employers accountable when staffing agencies fail to pay their workers or have safety violations. Assembly Bill 1897 was signed into law in 2014 despite strong objections from the staffing industry. The industry specifically fought against providing information including "employee hours worked" and "client names" on their employee's paychecks. These key pieces of information are important for any worker, but are essential in an industry where wage theft is rampant.
The Temporary Worker Right to Know Law, passed in 2013, has been seen as a model for other state legislation. It requires staffing agencies to give employees a written notice with basic information about any job to which they are sending the employee. This includes "pay rate" and "whether the position requires special clothing, tools, licenses, or training." Despite the basic and potentially life-saving information that this law provides, the staffing industry strongly objected and lobbied against its passage.
PROPOSED STATE LAWS
House Bill 1189, similar to other 'right to know' legislation, was first introduced in 2013 and has been reintroduced in subsequent years. A coalition led by the New Hampshire Council for Occupational Safety & Health has championed the law.
First proposed in 2018, House Bill 2849 would take the most comprehensive approach to improving the safety of temporary workers. The bill incorporates proven Know Your Rights strategies in place in Massachusetts while adding safety requirements on staffing agencies and host employers to address systematic weaknesses that have proven to influence injury rates.
TEMP WORKER PROTECTIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Nearly every other industrialized nation provides greater protections for temporary workers, each taking a unique approach. Other countries:
limit the length of temp assignments
restrict temp work to short-term or unexpected needs
cap the percent of a workplace that can be temporary
guarantee equal pay for equal work
provide security should agencies go bankrupt and not pay
ban temp work from dangerous industries and jobs
require licensing of temp agencies or staff