Senate passes Acosta’s worker protection bills


            STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved two bills sponsored by Sen. Jonathon Acosta that seek to support and protect Rhode Island’s workers.

            The first bill (2024-S 2122A) would clarify the role of a workers’ cooperative to allow it to operate as a hiring hall under certain circumstances.  It would allow workers' cooperatives, through their articles of incorporation or bylaws, to indicate their intent of supplying contract labor for other entities.  Any individual performing said labor would be considered an independent contractor providing skilled labor through the workers' cooperative corporation.   

            “With the lack and availability of skilled labor becoming a problem for many Rhode Island residents, this bill will significantly add to the state’s skilled labor pool while also granting these skilled laborers with the support and protections that worker cooperatives provide to their members.  This bill is a win for our state’s skilled laborers as well as their customers,” said Senator Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket).

            The second bill (2024-S 2123A) would require employers, at the time of hiring, to give their employees an itemized list of the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment. It would mandate that the employer provide every employee each payday with a pay stub explaining exactly how their wages were calculated and the reason for each deduction from their gross wages. The act would also allow the employee to file a private court action against the employer for a violation of these new required disclosures, while also in the alternative, allowing the director of the Department of Labor and Training to bring an action on the employees’ behalf.

            “How can an employee guarantee that they are receiving their full and fair wage if they are not provided with the information on how their paycheck is calculated?  This piece of legislation will remedy this problem by ensuring that our employees are well-versed in how much they are making and why they are taking home the exact amount in their paycheck.  And for those employers who try to take advantage of their employees, this bill will also provide courses of legal remedy for an employee affected by an unscrupulous employer,” said Senator Acosta.

            Both bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration