Explores the growing sector of low-wage temporary work in Massachusetts, workers’ vulnerability to abuse and proposes legislative action.
“An assessment of temporary low-wage work in Massachusetts as it affects workers, businesses, and the growth of the Massachusetts economy. … The low-wage temporary workforce at the center of this study is sizable, growing rapidly, and holds far-reaching implications for the future of work” (p.3). Four major problems for the state are identified along with proposed legislative action to create fairness for the low-wage temporary workforce.

(Abstractor: Author and Website staff)

Full publication title: The Challenge of Temporary Work in Twenty-First Century Labor Markets: Flexibility with Fairness for the Low-Wage Temporary Workforce


Major Findings & Recommendations

The four problems identified for this segment of the workforce include: • “Low-wage temporary staffing agency workers comprise a rapidly growing and vulnerable segment of an unregulated market” (p.3). • “The triangular employment relationship, a hallmark of the temporary industry, presents unique challenges for the enforcement of wage and hour laws in the low-wage economy” (p.4). • “Blurred lines of employer responsibility and widespread malfeasance of low-road temporary agencies and their client businesses have resulted in the under-enforcement of safety standards for temp workers” (p.5). • Taxpayers and government are burdened by temporary agency fraud that is amounting to tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue” (p.6). Recommend changes to the Massachusetts Employment Agency Law in order “to create fairness for the 21st century’s low-wage temporary staffing workforce while maintaining flexibility that employers are demanding” (p.29) including: • “Eliminate the double standard in Massachusetts Employment Agency Law that currently regulates professional employment agencies but leaves the temporary staffing industry unregulated” (p.7). • “Create transparency and provide temp workers with basic information about the terms and conditions of work before starting a job assignment“ (p.8). • “Provide meaningful enforcement of labor standards for the temporary workforce” (p.8). • “Level the playing field for all commercial employment agencies through reforms that streamline the law and support enforcement of labor standards for low-wage, vulnerable temp workers” (p.8). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)