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Labor law changes that temporary staffing agencies need to know

Posted on December 30th, 2014 Read time: 2 minutes

With the economy taking slow and steady recovery steps in the wake of the Great Recession, many companies looking to add to their payrolls will often turn to the help of temporary workers. They 'try it before you buy it' strategy benefits the job seeker, the employer of record sending these individuals on assignments and the company requesting supplemental staffing help.

However, according to a report from Business and Legal Resources, there have been changes made by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration with regard to how to properly deal with temporary workers who call in sick or are injured on the job. These new rules regarding record keeping of supplemental staffing employees are part of OSHAs Temporary Worker Initiative.

"Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees," Dr. David Michaels, OSHAs assistant secretary of labor, told BLR. "Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employee's safety and health. It is essential that both employers comply with all relevant OSHA requirements."

Many of the changes suggested by OSHA include requiring the employer of record and its client to share information on supplemental workers who get hurt on the job or suffer an illness. In addition, the record-keeping responsibility of these situations lies with the person immediately supervising temporary employees on a daily basis. This simply means that clients will be responsible for documenting this information and then relaying it back to the employer of record.

Lastly, host employers will be required to keep a log of any illnesses on injuries suffered on-site by temporary workers. This ensures that, should anything happen while a supplemental employee is on assignment, there will be no discrepancies between the staffing agency and the client.

California imposes new liability law for contractors
Beginning in January 2015, California-based companies that employ temporary workers will be forced to share in the financial responsibility for any contract employee who files any kind of wage claim. This includes wage issues regarding pay rates and workers compensation claims, as is written in Assembly Bill 1897, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.

"California workers received a much-needed measure of protection tonight with Gov. Brown's signature on a landmark bill to curtail abuses of subcontracted workers," the California Labor Federation's executive secretary-treasurer, Art Pulaski, told the Sacramento Bee. "By holding corporations jointly liable with subcontractors and staffing agencies, the governor closed a loophole in the law that many big companies were using to violate the basic rights of workers with impunity."

The changes implemented by OSHA is one that temporary staffing agencies should become familiar with, as well as those doing business in the state of California. It's important for an employer of record to always stay abreast of labor law changes in order to ensure that they are always operating within their legal requirements.

Failure to do so can result in severe fines and penalties, as well as deteriorate the relationship that staffing agencies have developed with their client base. 

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