Industry Advocacy Helps Derail Unnecessary Employer Legislation in Rhode Island

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Advocacy by ASA and the Rhode Island Staffing Association, an ASA-affiliated chapter, helped persuade state lawmakers to put legislation on hold that would have imposed new regulatory burdens on businesses that use contract labor.

Rhode Island bill S 139 would make any employer or organization that obtains workers through a subcontractor, staffing organization, or other labor contractor legally liable if that labor contractor violates any of the payment-of-wages laws under Title 28 of the Rhode Island General Laws.

ASA and RISA submitted testimony outlining the staffing industry’s objections to the bill. They argued that the bill was redundant and unnecessary because users of contract labor have long been responsible as joint, special, or secondary employers under a wide range of federal and Rhode Island state labor and employment laws covering every aspect of the employment relationship whenever the user firm directs and controls the work performed by the contract employees.

A coalition of Rhode Island businesses also objected to the bill, arguing that it would penalize users of contract labor even if they had no knowledge of any violation of the wage payment laws.

Faced with unified business opposition, the senate labor committee referred the bill for study, effectively killing it for the year. If lawmakers revisit the subject again during the 2022 legislative session, ASA and RISA will renew their objections.

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