AirTalk for April 1, 2014

Should employers be held legally responsible for subcontract workers?

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

A large group of janitors, security officers, airport workers and other contracted service workers, march and rally in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to protest against, what they say are “low wages and benefits” in Los Angeles, California on June 15, 2011.

A California bill amended on Friday would put employers on the hook for wages, taxes and workers compensation for employees hired through a contracting or temp agency.

The bill, AB 1897, was first introduced in February by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina). If passed, it would make California the biggest state in the nation to hold companies legally responsible for violations committed by a subcontractor. For example, if a temp agency fails to pay its employees, the company would have to pick up the bill.

At least 10 states currently have laws regulating day and contract labor in some fashion, but California is one of the first states to directly take on employers that contract with temp agencies. Unions are in support of the bill, but small business and business organizations are opposed to it, calling it a legislative overreach.

Guests:

Caitlin Vega, legislative advocate at the California Labor Federation

Ken DeVore, Legislative Director at the CA chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business


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