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January 2002

In California, as in other states across the country, employers save between 15 and 30% of payroll costs when using labor intermediaries rather than hiring workers directly.

Unlike in other countries, social welfare and worker protective laws in the United States generally protect only those workers who are classified as “employees.” In turn, workplace benefits and entitlement to workplace rights are available only to those who fit the specific definition of “employee” under a particular law.

This report, compiled by the National Employment Law Center and the Center on Policy Initiatives, examines current California law on the rights of nonstandard workers in several areas: wage and hour laws, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, health and safety provisions, family leave, agricultural employees’ rights to organize, and the related areas of temporary agency regulation and the business and professional code.

The report highlights the many successful campaigns that have been and are being waged in California and suggests further areas for research, policy and legal advocacy.