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<b>New Massachusetts Legislation for unemploy.</b>

I'm a W2 contractor in Massachusetts and I just received an email from my agency stating that Massachusetts legislation is changing 1/1/04 for unemployment filings for the staffing industry.

Here is the body of the email:

--- begin email body ----

Massachusetts legislation is changing 1/1/04 for unemployment filings for the staffing industry.  Please read and sign the attached document by Friday January 16th and return to [AGENCY_NAME] Group acknowledging you are aware of the new changes.  If you have any questions about this new law please feel free to call us anytime.

--- end email body ---

Here is the document you're supposed to sign:

--- begin attached document----

Recent Massachusetts legislation beginning January 1, 2004, states that a temporary employee on assignment for a temporary help firm will be deemed to have voluntarily quit if the employee does not contact the temporary help firm for reassignment before filing for unemployment benefits.  The unemployment benefits may be denied for failure to do so.

Please make sure that you contact your [AGENCY_NAME] recruiter for reassignment if and when your assignment ends.  Failure to do so could jeopardize your right to any unemployment benefits for which you may otherwise be eligible under Massachusetts law.


Please sign below confirming your receipt and understanding of the new unemployment requirements and fax to 555-555-5555 or mail to:...

--- end attached document ---

My question: Did anyone hear of this legislation change? And why would I sign this document? This document is from the agency, I doubt there is any law saying I must sign it.

working in massachusetts
Sunday, January 11, 2004

heh, guess I can't use tags in the title -- sorry!

working in massachusetts
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Only Joel and whoever else he lets mod this board can make topics bold.

Why don't you want to sign it?  It's not going to harm you any.  In fact it will protect you.  It's just acknowledging that you are knowledgeable of your responsibility if your current assignment ends...

We didn't start the fire, it was always burning
Sunday, January 11, 2004

I just want to be careful, that's all -- make sure I'm not missing something, so I thought I'd run it by everyone.

working in massachusetts
Sunday, January 11, 2004

That's a bizarre claim ... they want him to sign because that will limit his ability to pursue unemployment later. Of course it potentially harms him.

On the other hand, they'll probably ask for his resignation if he doesn't sign. But then, by virtue of not having signed, he might have a valid unemployment claim  =)

Zahid
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Zahid - shutup.  Don't make things complicated and confusing.

Massachusetts guy - if you are leary of signing the document then find someone to discuss it with.  Someone in your agency, or the unemployment office perhaps, or better yet both.

We didn't start the fire, it was always burning
Sunday, January 11, 2004

"That's a bizarre claim ... they want him to sign because that will limit his ability to pursue unemployment later. Of course it potentially harms him."

No, signing the document doesn't harm him, because ignorance is not a legal defense. Even if he did not know that he was obliged to do this, he'd still be obliged to do it, because it's a LAW.

Personally, I think the company was very helpful in informing him of ways to make sure his unemployment wouldn't be denied, given the law changed.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Sunday, January 11, 2004

This is Massachusetts. We're worry about signing /any/ document because they all tend to lead to 4 billion dollar holes being dug in our back yard, tax hikes to pay for programs that bring puppies to convicted rapists in prison, or automatically reinstating Michael Dukakis as Governor. :-)

Seriously though, I would check with your local state reps office. They do a pretty good job of pointing your too the right people.

Marc
Sunday, January 11, 2004

If they were just sending him the letter as a courtesy, they wouldn't ask him to sign and return it. Sending the letter protects him; but the acknowledgement requirement protects them.

Zahid
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Zahid is right. Signing it is in no way going to help me. That I know. I guess it is really a question of, what's the damage, so to speak.

working in massachusetts
Sunday, January 11, 2004

The signed letter does two things:
1) He is now aware of his rights. This is a courtesy.
2) It's prima facie evidence that can be used to dismiss his lawsuit. Said suit would fail anyway, under the law; this just cuts to the chase quicker.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Philo, what exactly would be my suit?

working in massachusetts
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Presumably Philo is referring to the suit you could take against them for failing to inform you you might lose benefit.

Whenever you get something like that just sign to acknowledge receipt.. Make sure you write the words "acknowldge receipt" before your signature.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 11, 2004

If you are working for a staffing agency and live in massachusetts, your life pretty much sucks, anyway. I hardly see how signing this document makes any difference in the grand scheme of things.

get a life.
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Surely you know that any competant lawyer says NEVER to sign ANY contract or other agreement without consulting with an attorney. (Affidavits that your tax return is true and correct is not in this category.)

Anyway, tell them you'll run it past your attorney. If they ask for it again tell them you're saving up for an attorney but at the rates they give you you can't afford one. Seriously. That's what I do. There will be a lot of protesting and making you out to be a troublemaker and in the end someone will write 'refused to sign', initial it, and send it on to wherever.

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, January 11, 2004

I suggest that you contact the ASA, which will be able to provide you with information about this.

I notice that this link:
http://www.staffingtoday.net/memberserv/publicaffairs.htm

(which is the ASA website), has a "members only" link to State Laws Affecting Staffing Firms. You may be able to confirm the specific one you're curious about with a quick phone call to them.

Tim Sullivan
Monday, January 12, 2004

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