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April 14, 2024 Clouds | 45°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 159C: Staffing agencies; notice of information concerning employee's assignment; fees prohibited; transportation services; prohibited activities by staffing

Section 159C. (a) For purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:—

''Department'', the department of labor standards.

''Employee'', a person employed directly by a staffing agency to provide temporary or part-time employment services to a work site employer or a person for whom a staffing agency procures or arranges temporary or part-time employment with a work site employer. ''Employee'' includes persons under 18 years of age engaged in domestic service in the home of the employer or persons engaged in agricultural service.

''Employer'', an individual, company, corporation or partnership acting in the interest of an employer directly or indirectly.

''Employment'', a trade, occupation or branch of industry, any particular method or process used therein, and the service of any particular employer by an employee as defined in this section, which shall include, but not be limited to, private domestic service by persons under 18 years of age or service as a farm laborer, including all practices connected with agriculture, the tillage of the soil, the preparation and marketing of crops and the construction and maintenance of farm property and equipment, customarily performed by a farmer on a farm.

''Staffing agency'', an individual, company, corporation or partnership that procures or provides temporary or part-time employment to a person who then works under the supervision or direction of a work site employer.

''Work site employer'', an individual, company, corporation or partnership with which a staffing agency contracts or otherwise agrees to furnish persons for temporary or part-time employment.

(b) A staffing agency shall provide to each employee for new assignment or employment notice of the following:

(1) the name, address and telephone number of: (i) the staffing agency, or the contact information of the staffing agent facilitating the placement; (ii) its workers compensation carrier; (iii) the worksite employer; and (iv) the department;

(2) a description of the position and whether it shall require any special clothing, equipment, training or licenses and any costs charged to the employee for supplies or training;

(3) the designated pay day, the hourly rate of pay and whether overtime pay may occur;

(4) the daily starting time and anticipated end time and, when known, the expected duration of employment;

(5) whether any meals shall be provided by the staffing agency or worksite employer and the charge, if any, to the employee; and

(6) details of the means of transportation to the worksite and any fees charged to the employee by the staffing agency or worksite employer for any transportation services.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a staffing agency from directing an employee to employment by telephone; provided, that the telephone message shall disclose the information in this subsection.

The information concerning the employee's assignment shall be confirmed in writing and sent to the employee, in a method designated by the employee, before the end of the first pay period; provided, however, that any change to the initial terms of employment shall be immediately provided to the employee and the employee shall acknowledge the change in terms.

The staffing agency shall post in a conspicuous place in each of its locations where it does business notice of an employee's rights under this section and the name and telephone number of the department. The department shall provide a sample posted notice that meets the requirements of this section and, when appropriate, shall facilitate the translation of the notice to a language other than English.

This subsection shall not apply to a professional employee, as defined in 29 U.S.C. section 152; or to employees who are secretaries or administrative assistants whose main or primary duties are described by the bureau of labor statistics of the United States Department of Labor as involving 1 or more of the following: drafting or revising correspondence, scheduling appointments, creating, organizing, and maintaining paper and electronic files, and providing information to callers or visitors.

(c) No staffing agency or worksite employer shall charge or accept a fee from an employee for:

(1) the cost of registration of the staffing agency or the cost of procuring employment;

(2) any good or service unless under the terms of a written contract with an employee, which clearly states in a language that the employee understands, that the purchase is voluntary and which provides that the staffing agency will not gain a profit from any cost or fee charged to the employee;

(3) the provision of any of the following that exceed the actual cost per applicant or employee: bank card, debit card, payroll card, voucher, draft, money order or similar form of payment or wages, or any drug screen;

(4) a criminal record offender information request;

(5) transportation, except as provided in subsection (d); or

(6) any good or service the payment of which would cause the employee to earn less than the applicable minimum wage.

No staffing agency or work site employer or a person acting directly or indirectly in either's interest shall deduct any costs or fees from the wages of an employee without the express written authorization of the employee. A staffing agency or work site employer shall furnish to the employee a copy of the signed authorization in a language that the employee can understand.

(d) If a staffing agency or work site employer or a person acting directly or indirectly in either's interest offers transportation services to an employee and charges a fee for such services, the staffing agency or work site employer shall charge such employee not more than the actual cost to transport such employee to or from the designated work site. The fee, if any, to cover the transportation service costs for each such employee shall not exceed 3 per cent of such employee's total daily wages, and shall not reduce the employee's total daily wages below the minimum wage earned for the day. If a staffing agency or work site employer or a person acting directly or indirectly in either's interest requires the use of such transportation services, no fee shall be charged. Any staffing agency that sends an employee to a worksite employer for employment that day where in fact no employment exists shall fully refund the cost of transportation.

(e) A staffing agency shall not:

(1) knowingly issue, distribute, circulate or provide any false, fraudulent or misleading information, representation, promise, notice or advertisement to any applicant or employee;

(2) use any name that has not been registered with the department under chapter 140 in the advertisement of its services;

(3) assign or place an employee in employment by force or fraud, for illegal purposes, or where the employment is in violation of state or federal laws governing minimum wage, child labor, compulsory school attendance, required licensure or certification, or at any location that is on strike or lockout without notifying the employee of this fact;

(4) refuse to return on demand any personal property belonging to an employee or any fee or cost that is charged or accepted by a staffing agency or work site employer in excess of the amounts allowable under this section.

(f) The department shall promulgate rules and regulations and all inspections and investigations necessary for the enforcement of this section.

(g) Whoever violates this section shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C.