Employment Services Industry Licensing Guide
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Massachusetts Employment Agency

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Licensing requirements for Massachusetts employment, staffing and talent agencies.

This page provides an overview of employment services licensing in Massachusetts for individuals and agencies. You will find state requirements, application fees, filing instructions, and more. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

Companies that provide employment services in Massachusetts must apply for a license prior to doing business. Depending on the services offered, businesses may need to apply for more than one license type, and in some cases, an individual license will be required as well.

Company Licenses

Massachusetts Employment Services Company Licenses

Companies acting as employment agencies in Massachusetts must obtain the following licenses before offering employment services. Applications usually require proof of incorporation or a certificate of authority.

Massachusetts Employment Agency License

Agency:Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development

Initial Registration

This section applies to firms that are applying for a license in Massachusetts for the first time.

Form:

http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/employment-agency/employment-placement-and-staffing-agencies-program/information-for-employment-agencies.html

Agency Fee:

$300, $500 if agency has 5 or more placement counselors

Registration Renewal

This section applies to firms that are already licensed in Massachusetts and need to renew their license.

Form:

http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/employment-agency/employment-placement-and-staffing-agencies-program/information-for-employment-agencies.html

Agency Fee:

$300, $500 if agency has 5 or more placement counselors

Due:

Annually

Massachusetts Placement Agency Registration

Agency:Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$300

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$300

Due:

Annually

Massachusetts Professional Employer Organization License

Agency:Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards - Professional Employer Organization Program
Law:

M.G.L. c. 149 § 196

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Financial Requirements:

Each PEO or collectively each PEO group must maintain positive working capital, as defined by generally accepted accounting principles.

Bond Requirements:

$250,000 surety bond

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Certificate of Registration

Agency Fee:

$500

Required Attachments:
  • Name(s) under which the PEO conducts business or will conduct business
  • Address of each office the PEO maintains in Massachusetts
  • A list of all mailing addresses of the PEO
  • Statement of ownership for the President and Treasurer if a corporation or for each partner that owns at least 25% of the equity interest of the PEO if a partnership, LP, or LLP

 

If you are filing without an assurance by an independent and qualified assurance organization the following must also be filed:

  • A financial statement setting forth the financial condition of the PEO or PEO Group, which shall include the most recent audit of the applicant that shall not be more than 13 months old. The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and the audit shall be conducted by an independent certified public accountant licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which such accountant is located.
  • A copy of the registrants’ standard comprehensive PEO agreement to be used by the PEO
  • A client list, including the client name, physical address, telephone number, and federal identification number for whom the PEO is providing professional employer services
  • A statement of management for the preceding 5 years, which shall include the name and evidence of business experience of any person who serves or will serve, if known, or reasonably known at time of registration, as President, Chief Executive Officer, or otherwise as the authority to act as Senior Executive Officer of the PEO
  • A list by jurisdiction of each name under which the PEO has operated in the preceding 5 years, including any alternative names, names of predecessors and successor business entities
  • An Affirmation of Workers Compensation Insurance
  • A surety bond filed in the penal sum of $250,000 payable to, “the People of the Commonwealth,” reflecting the address of the PEO office on the bond certificate

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Certificate of Registration

Agency Fee:

$500

Due:

Annually by the date of issuance.

Required Attachments:
  • Changes to the name(s) under which the PEO conducts business or will conduct business
  • Changes to the address of any office the PEO maintains in Massachusetts
  • Changes to the mailing addresses of the PEO
  • Changes to the statement of ownership

 

If you are filing without an assurance by an independent and qualified assurance organization the following must also be filed:

  • A financial statement setting forth the financial condition of the PEO or PEO Group, which shall include the most recent audit of the applicant that shall not be more than 13 months old. The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and the audit shall be conducted by an independent certified public accountant licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which such accountant is located.
  • A copy of the registrants’ standard comprehensive PEO agreement to be used by the PEO
  • Changes to the client list, including the client name, physical address, telephone number, and federal identification number for whom the PEO is providing professional employer services
  • Changes to the statement of management for the preceding 5 years, which shall include the name and evidence of business experience of any person who serves or will serve, if known, or reasonably known at time of registration, as President, Chief Executive Officer, or otherwise as the authority to act as Senior Executive Officer of the PEO
  • Changes to the list by jurisdiction of each name under which the PEO has operated in the preceding 5 years, including any alternative names, names of predecessors and successor business entities
  • An Affirmation of Workers Compensation Insurance
  • A surety bond filed in the penal sum of $250,000 payable to, “the People of the Commonwealth,” reflecting the address of the PEO office on the bond certificate

Amendment
Address Change

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Within 30 days after the address is changed.

Law:

454 CMR 30.08

Notes:

PEOs seeking to change their address must notify the department in writing of their new address. Supporting documentation and or a site visit may be required by the department to verify the change of address.

Massachusetts Talent Agency License

Agency:Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Notes:

Massachusetts does not have a separate talent agency license, but an employment agency license may be required.

Employee Leasing Company - Enter into leasing contracts with other businesses that require labor. The leasing company loans its workers to the lessee while still providing specified responsibilities, such as workers compensation insurance, to the employees. This includes long term (6 months or more) temporary arrangements but often excludes temporary help arrangements. Unlike professional employer organizations, employee leasing companies are contracted when an employer needs to hire staff and does not want to handle human resources responsibilities.

Employment Agency - An entity that, for compensation, procures or attempts to procure employment for a person.

Professional Employer Organization - PEOs take on the human resources role for businesses and act as a co-employer in the sense that the client company's workers are administratively employees of the PEO but functionally these employees are controlled by the client company. Unlike employee leasing companies, PEOs are contracted when an employer already has staff and does not want to handle human resources responsibilities.

Staffing Agency - An entity that procures temporary or part-time employment for a person who then works under the supervision of a worksite employer.

Talent Agency - An entity that, for compensation, procures or attempts to procure employment or placement for an artist. (Certain art forms are excluded)

American Staffing Association
Staffing, recruiting, and workforce solution industry advocacy group.

National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS)
Education and training oriented association for personnel services providers.

National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO)
Provides advocacy efforts, information, and other services to members of the employment industry.

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