In today’s economy, it is common for employees to be employed by staffing agencies or “temporary” employment services. These employees typically work at an employer that is a client of the staffing agency. Even though these employees are often referred to as “temps,” they frequently work for long periods on a full-time basis at employers where they are assigned to work by the staffing agency.
Whether a staffing agency assigns employees to work on a short-term or long-term basis, employees who obtain their jobs through staffing or temporary agencies generally have the same employment rights as other workers. For example, workers employed through a staffing agency who work over forty hours in a work week are usually entitled to overtime compensation. Any manipulation of an employee’s hours by the staffing agency or its client to avoid paying overtime compensation could violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Such practices might include shaving or reducing the hours worked by the employee so that the employee does not work more than forty hours in a week. Similarly, employers who apply the hours an employee works to a subsequent week simply to ensure that the employee is not credited for working more than forty hours in a work week could also violate the FLSA.
Since a staffing agency enjoys flexibility in placing employees at its clients, employees employed through a staffing agency may work at multiple employers in a given work week. An employee does not need to work more than forty hours at each location in order to receive overtime compensation. Employees assigned through a staffing agency to work at multiple locations may be entitled to overtime compensation once they have worked forty hours, even if they accrued those hours at multiple employers.
Employees who are employed by a staffing agency on a long-term basis may have additional rights. For example, they may be eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Similarly, employees assigned through a staffing agency on a long-term basis may be eligible for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.