As the world economy rebounds after what experts have dubbed the “great recession,” it’s time to take a look at your current co-work arrangements and understand your legal responsibilities. What is co-working? To explain this concept, many organizations have had to turn to the services of independent contractors and temporary staffers to curb employment costs over the last few years. This was in response to massive layoffs and corporate shutdowns that put one-tenth of the U.S. workforce into a status of unemployed, and millions of college grads without opportunities.
Currently, there are some 2.3 million individuals who have turned to temporary staffing arrangements to find work, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, there are almost that many who have started their own service-based businesses, offering everything from virtual administrative and writing support to consulting and independent sales work. Therefore, companies have begun to see an increase in co-working agreements, in which independent contractors and temps may be working for multiple organizations simultaneously.
What does co-working mean in terms of HR laws and compliance?
First of all, it is in your best interest as a company to remember that individuals who choose to contract their services with you are free to manage their own home offices. This means they are responsible for furnishing their own equipment, supplies, and communications such as telephone lines and Internet services. If you are requiring specific things, then you must provide the means for the individual to obtain them, either through providing the needed elements or by reimbursing these expenses. Use a standard IC contract and get a Non-disclosure Agreement signed.
Secondly, you are required to follow the same rules for your independent workforce as you would for your regular staffers. Those who work over 40-hours per week must be paid overtime wages. You must pay at least the federally approved minimum hourly wage. You must also offer the option to purchase health benefits to those who are working at least 30 or more hours per week, under Healthcare Reform. You must also have a system for gathering and processing payroll information, and sending out either a W-2 or 1099 form for tax purposes.
To remain in compliance, be sure to follow all general employment laws, such as those designed to prevent hiring and firing discrimination. Avoid hiring just from one group or gender, and never advertise for jobs asking for a specific demographic to apply. State that you are an equal opportunity employer. Keep track of your hiring and make sure you are also complying with minority hiring rules.
Maintaining a workforce that consists of temporary staff or independent contractors can be a good way to reduce costs and overhead. Many more companies are turning to at least a portion of their work being completed by remote individuals. Be sure to utilize an experienced team of professionals when you work with Avontis Group for your staffing needs.