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Legal Considerations for Temporary Workers: Straight talk from the American Staffing Association

What is a co-employment relationship? What’s the difference between a temporary and a part-time employee? Who is responsible for verifying temporary employees’ work eligibility status?

We have the answers you need.

As the “voice of the U.S. staffing industry,” the American Staffing Association (ASA) provides clarification and insight on a variety of important staffing and employment topics. Today, we’re providing an overview of their Legal Quick Facts, which cover a range of legal considerations with regards to temporary workers. While this summary is not intended as legal advice, it does offer straight talk to help you better understand key staffing issues:

Co-Employment. Co-employment is a commercial relationship between two or more businesses (typically a staffing firm and its client) in which each has legal rights and obligations as an employer with respect to the same employee or group of employees.

Maintaining a Safe Work Site. Staffing agencies and their clients both have responsibilities related to workplace safety. Staffing clients have primary responsibility for maintaining safe work sites. Staffing firms have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to:

  • determine the conditions at the work site;
  • provide generic safety information;
  • advise temporary and contract employees how to obtain more specific information regarding protection from hazards at the work site.

OSHA Record-Keeping. In general, the client must keep and maintain injury and illness records required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Temporary vs. Part-Time Employee. Part-time employees work less than a full-time work week (i.e., less than the weekly hours an employer considers full-time) and they work a regularly established schedule. Temporary work is not governed by a fixed or regular schedule, and many temporary employees work full-time.

Work Eligibility Status. Staffing firms are required to verify work eligibility for their temporary or contract employees.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance. Clients and staffing companies generally share obligations for compliance with the ADA. This includes sharing costs for providing reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.

Staffing Firm Employees and Benefits Liability. Clients that arbitrarily limit assignment lengths to avoid benefits liability may be disrupting their businesses unnecessarily. To avoid benefits liability and minimize disruption, clients should draft benefits plans that explicitly exclude staffing firm employees.

For additional information on these and other staffing legal matters, view the entire ASA Legal Quick Facts here. Or, give A.R. Mazzotta a call! With over 45 years of staffing experience, we can help you better understand how to use our services to your strategic advantage – while complying with federal, state and local regulations.