Yes, once again we are blogging about California’s employment regulations. That’s because California often leads the nation in groundbreaking legislation to protect the rights of workers. Last Month, Governor Jerry Brown passed the Staffing Buyer bill AB 1897 into law. Every company using non-traditional employees needs to be aware of its legal implications to their program.
Currently, a few states have laws to regulate agencies providing temporary and day labor in some way. Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas get temporary workers to register with the state. Massachusetts, Florida, Georgia and New Hampshire limit or prohibit fees which are charged to temporary workers for transportation to and from a worksite. But the new law in California approached the matter more comprehensively.
Described as a historic new law, this bill holds corporations jointly accountable when they hire workers through staffing agencies. Companies can be found liable if the agencies working on their behalf cheat workers out of wages, deprive them of workers’ compensation, refuse to pay unemployment taxes on their account, or force them to work in unsafe environments. The law aims to close the loophole which allowed major corporations to dissociate themselves from their own staffing agencies and subcontractors.
This law exposes employers who hire staffing agencies without evaluating their practices, and requires them to contractually specify their expectations of adherence to the Labor Code. They must also put remedies in place for any possible violations. The bill allows for a 30 day notice period during which a company could set matters right after being notified of any wrongdoing by their labor contractors and staffing agencies. Failure to take effective corrective measures could land the company and its suppliers in litigation.
If You are a Buyer of Staffing Services:
If You are a Staffing Agency
If You are a Temporary Worker:
Non-traditional and temporary employment has been growing steadily over the past three decades. Many companies depend upon staffing agencies as a “no risk” way to quickly source qualified workers. This growth has increased public awareness of the working conditions of temporary workers, which continues to result in increased legislation to protect worker rights. California and other proactive states are not alone. The National Labor Relations Board also has plans for a new “Joint Employer Standard” which looks at staffing buyers as joint employers of temporary workers sourced through agencies. Staffing agencies and the companies that use their services must stay aware of emerging legislation, working to avoid possible liability.
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