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Lawmaker seeks end to employment-agency licensing

In the mid-20th century, such arrangements were common, but you don’t see them today, the founder of TriStar Staffing said.

“I’ve never heard of anyone doing it here in Lancaster County, or the state of Pennsylvania, for that matter,” she said.

“It’s been a long, long time since anyone has had to pay to get a job.”

State Rep. Mindy Fee concurs, pointing to the rise of Internet job search options such asMonster.com and Craigslist.

And since the business model has largely vanished, it’s time to dismantle the state apparatus that was set up to regulate it, said Fee, who represents the 37th District in Lancaster County.

Fee has proposed House Bill 1980 to repeal the state’s 1941 Employment Agency Law.

The bill passed the state House by a unanimous vote on April 7.

Currently, the 1941 law requires all agencies that find jobs for people “where a fee or other valuable consideration is charged for such services” to obtain a state license and obey other rules.

The Department of Labor and Industry concurs that the law is outdated.

Statewide, only about 60 agencies a year register under the law, DLI said. In 2012-13, it cost $109,977 to license and regulate them, yet DLI took in just $23,760 in fees, for a deficit of $86,217.

Annual agency license fees are $300, initial registrations are $50 and renewals are $10, DLI said.

“This type of licensing program simply is no longer needed and needs to go,” Fee said in a statement.

Paxton founded TriStarr 25 years ago. Like other temporary staffing agencies, it charges employers for its services, not job-seekers.

There is no state licensing or regulation that specifically applies to agencies like hers, Paxton said.

Instead, it’s word of mouth that separates the good from the bad, she said.

“We live and die every day on the reputation that we build up,” she said.

Fee said she came across the 1941 law more or less by happenstance: She was working on another issue with DLI staffers, and they happened to mention it.

“These types of archaic programs can drain funding and go unnoticed for years,” she said.

Her bill moves next to the state Senate for consideration.

By: Tim Stuhldreher, Lancaster Online

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