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A Massachusetts bill could prohibit temp-to-perm conversion fees for nonprofessional workers as well as some professional workers such as nurses and physicians, according to the American Staffing Association. The bill, HB 1393, could also make staffing firms responsible for meals and lodging in certain instances, require workers to receive job details in writing and could require out-of-state staffing firms doing business in Massachusetts to set up an office in that state.
“It would have significant impact on our industry,” said Stephen Dwyer, general counsel as the American Staffing Association, which is opposing the bill. “We have seen no law as sweeping and as broad as this one in Massachusetts.”
Conversion fees and direct hire fees would largely be prohibited under the bill, Dwyer said.
In addition, written notifications required under the bill would be difficult for staffing firms to provide and the vast majority of information that would be required is already provided to workers on an oral basis, Dwyer said. The industry “business model is such that providing that written notice would be administratively unfeasible.”
Various iterations of the bill have cropped up for the last 10 years, and proponents have claimed widespread abuses within the staffing industry, Dwyer said. However, he said the claims appear grossly exaggerated and efforts to requests for information on alleged abuses have been to no avail. While there may be some bad apples in the industry, there are no more bad apples in staffing than in other industries, Dwyer said, adding that existing law is sufficient to handle any difficulties that may occur.
A hearing on the bill is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. The ASA is organizing an opposition to the bill.
Dwyer said it’s difficult to say whether other states could use the Massachusetts bill as a model if it receives approval. However, it’s something all staffing firms should be concerned about, he said.
Proponents of the bill, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, argue it will streamline regulations for the industry and protect temporary workers.
Members of the REAL (Reform Employment Agency Law) Coalition in favor of the bill including the Mass AFL-CIO, Greater Boston Labor Council, Mass Employment Lawyers Association and others.