California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed into law a new bill that will hold companies accountable for labor abuses by temp agencies and subcontractors they use.
Labor officials have increasingly expressed concern about the rapid growth of the temporary staffing industry since the recession. The growing reliance on temp work has led to complaints from workers who have been ordered to work in unsafe situations. Their complaints had little impact as temp agencies blamed the companies that hired them and those companies, in turn, faulted the agencies.
With the new law, California will have some of the country’s most comprehensive protections for temporary workers. The new law is designed to protect workers, including factory assemblers, hotel maids, warehouse workers, farm laborers, janitors, and food processors who often work for years at the same company, but are paid less and denied the benefits because they are officially employed by a labor contractor.
The California legislature passed a bill that will hold companies legally responsible if the temp agencies and subcontractors they hire put workers in harm’s way. Temporary workers are more likely to be injured on the job than regular workers.
Under the new California law, companies could face fines if the temp agencies they use or their subcontractors fail to pay employee wages or provide workers’ compensation insurance. The law gives companies a grace period to get temp agencies to comply.
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