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January 2017

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How to pay temp employees and freelancers fairly and accurately

How to pay temp employees and freelancers fairly and accurately 4416 2676 PayReel

 

According to a study by Princeton University, 95% of the 10 million new jobs added during President Obama’s terms were temporary or part time. Unfortunately, the reality for many such workers is difficult. Often, they lack access to benefits, work overtime without corresponding compensation, and deal with clients who pay late or don’t pay at all.

On the other end, employers often have a difficult time keeping up with contractor and freelancer management. Staying on top of ever-evolving laws, minimum wage and overtime changes, benefits eligibility, and the differences between state and local regulations is time consuming. It is a worthwhile investment, though. It raises businesses to preferred client status among contract workers and helps protect them from costly fines, to boot.

If you’re wondering how to pay temp employees and freelancers fairly and accurately, we can help.

 

How to pay temp employees and freelancers accurately and fairly

Accurate worker classification is an essential starting place. It’s easy to get wrong, but with your reputation and large fines on the line, it’s also important to get it right. Here’s a list of the most common classification errors and how to avoid them. Here are some basic guidelines for identifying the difference between employees and independent contractors.

Pay accurately and on time. Some big companies make a habit of net 90, but we don’t recommend it. Net 30 is more ethical and ultimately better for business. Here’s whyThe dust hasn’t settled on new overtime regulations or minimum wage debates, but here are our suggestions on this front.

Be proactive about benefits and keep up with evolving state and local laws rather than waiting for workers to knock on your door. Transparency is a great way to build trust. 

 

The bottom line:

We know you care about your freelancers, but they only know it if you show it. Taking these measures makes sure you handle your freelancers in a way that is ethical, shows your appreciation, and keeps you compliant.

We know you’re busy. If you don’t have the time, resources, or desire to pay attention to all the details, hire an expert to keep track of contractor and freelancer management for you. Our team of experts and our PayReel OnLine software are fully equipped to help you sort out the rules and execute processes while also balancing contractor expectations, legalities, and company budgets. This quiz can help you decide if you’d benefit from hiring a team like PayReel 

We help you care about your workers even when you’re short on time. We think happy workers and peace of mind are pretty close to priceless. 

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

Contractor Payroll, Overtime Exemptions, and What Volkswagen's Scandal Teaches Us

Contractor payroll, overtime exemptions, and what Volkswagen’s scandal teaches us

Contractor payroll, overtime exemptions, and what Volkswagen’s scandal teaches us 5472 3648 PayReel

 

Heads up: The way the production industry has traditionally approached contractor payroll just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Though currently stalled, new overtime regulations are questioning outdated payment practices—including day rates in the production industry.

Wherever you find new guidelines radically changing previously-accepted practices, you will also find someone trying to get around them. But it behooves companies to be ahead of the guidelines instead of trying to work around them. Just ask Volkswagen.

For its shady dealings (which the BBC broke down here), Volkswagen is paying the price to the tune of $20 billion—one of the most expensive corporate payouts in United States’ history. But it’s not all about the money. While the circumstances differ, the production industry can learn a few lessons from Volkswagen’s scandal about how to walk above board and avoid ending up in court.

 

Culture is everything, and it’s about to shift for the production industry

Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s then CEO, implicated “the terrible mistakes of a few” in his apology. But a scandal so deep doesn’t happen without a company culture (hello, Supervisor B!), and a broader auto industry culture, that tolerates or encourages finding a way around the rules.

A New York Times article points to the cultural element in industries that traditionally require long hours—like video production—that has always made room for fudging paperwork. Companies negotiate a flat rate and contractors work as long as it takes, even up to 12 or more hours, to get the job done. Since it’s standard practice, submitting time sheets that read “9-5” when everyone knows it was actually 9-9 hasn’t necessarily seemed unethical or unfair to either party. That’s just the way it is. Or at least the way it has been.

The new proposed regulations make it clear that even when workers claim to be okay with not getting paid accurately, it’s not actually okay. Employers must be prepared for the culture to shift and for workers to start questioning their overtime eligibility.

 

When the press talks, the people talk…

There’s nothing that shifts culture more than attention. As laws change at the state level and contractors and workers start thinking “this relates to me,” there will be pushback against industry norms. And it’s not just the workers. The media love to find and expose wrongdoings. Nobody wants to be the center of the biggest scandal of the year. Once again, just ask Volkswagen.

A mutual expectation of a flat rate for an undetermined number of work hours doesn’t count as compliance. Duties and level of pay dictate whether or not someone is eligible for overtime, not tradition. The more the press highlights these points, the more the people talk. And the more the people talk, the more the wink and nod approach in the video production industry will come under scrutiny.

 

…and money always talks

The air is dirtier, the ozone is thinner, and consumer trust is shattered. Unfortunately, Volkswagen isn’t the only company bending the rules or blatantly cheating in order to make a buck. Theirs is a tale as old as time. They just got caught.

And it’s coming to our industry too—the same New York Times article states that Fox is in litigation with a former worker who alleges he was paid unfairly. Once a studio gets shut down with a class action lawsuit, everyone will suddenly tighten up their practices and fall in line. But why risk finding yourself at the defense table in a courtroom? It’s not the amount of money that makes it relevant to our industry, it’s the fact that people are paying attention to it.

Don’t be the Volkswagen of the media production industry. It’s going to happen to someone. Why gamble your business instead of just starting to recognize eventual changes to overtime regulations now?

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

2016's overtime exemptions, minimum wage, and more will affect 2017

How 2016’s overtime exemptions, minimum wage, and more will affect 2017

How 2016’s overtime exemptions, minimum wage, and more will affect 2017 500 266 PayReel

The ball has dropped and the confetti has settled. Now that we’re back to work, let’s talk about what changed—other than the year—when the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, 2016.

 

Minimum wage

As of Jan. 2017, if you have employees working in one of the 29 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that passed a new minimum wage standard, they may be automatically eligible for a raise. Additionally, if your employees are working in one of the states that passed a built-in yearly minimum wage increase, they’re automatically set up for a raise until 2020. These raises don’t require a performance review and, if they aren’t honored, you could be liable for a lawsuit that’s sure to induce a headache worse than your New Year’s Eve escapades. That’s where PayReel’s smart software (and team!) comes in to make sure compliance comes first even in the most unique cases.

 

Paid sick leave

Some states are not only increasing their minimum wages; they’re also enacting a paid sick leave law. While it varies from location to location, paid sick leave essentially allows eligible employees to take paid time away from work so they or a family member can receive preventive care and/or diagnosis and care of an existing condition. As of Jan. 2017, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, District of Columbia, and Vermont have enacted paid sick leave policies statewide. Certain counties and cities in New Jersey, Washington, New York, and Maryland also have paid sick leave for eligible employees. We’ll be keeping our eyes on paid sick leave laws because, like many things when it comes to managing contractors and freelancers, they’re likely to change and grow as the year goes on. 

 

Mileage rates

In a nutshell: You’ll be paying your freelancers less for the miles they drive on the clock in 2017.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates paid to freelancers using their personal vehicle for business purposes decreased from 2016. You can now expect to pay 53.5 cents per mile driven for business purposes (down from 54 cents in 2016) and 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents for 2016). Click here to dig into the details and find our how to take advantage of your mileage savings.

 

Overtime exemptions

One of the most impactful changes of 2017 is sure to be overtime exemptions. That is, if they ever actually happen.

The Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (DOL FLSA) is poised to doubled the salary threshold; making over 4 million more employees non-exempt, and therefore eligible for overtime. Click here to learn how an overtime exemption overhaul can still affect you and your bottom line even while it’s in limbo.

 

The bottom line

If all those names, numbers, and abbreviations make you want to pour yourself another glass of champagne, get in touch with the PayReel team. Hire who you want, when you want while we manage all the paperwork and the risk. Contact us around the clock by calling 303-526-4900 or emailing us here.

Relax. We got it!

 


 
Nat's notes

About the author

PayReel Customer Experience Manager Natalie “The Go Getter” McGinnis recapped 2016’s biggest news in freelancer management to help you prepare for 2017. Nat’s experience in recruitment and customer service set her up for success in providing laser-focused attention and assistance to the PayReel employees and clients who need it the most. Click here to read more of Nat’s Notes and meet the rest of the PayReel team by clicking here!


How much money will you save now that mileage rates have decreased?

How much money will you save now that mileage rates have decreased?

How much money will you save now that mileage rates have decreased? 6016 4016 PayReel

 

You love your freelancers because they go the extra mile. Now that extra mile is going to cost you less.

Effective Jan. 1, standard mileage rates for using a personal vehicle for business purposes will be just a little lower than they were in 2016. Here are the CliffsNotes on how the mileage rates decrease could affect you and your budget.

 

What’s the new breakdown?

 

  • 53.5 cents per mile driven for business purposes (down from 54 cents in 2016)
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents for 2016)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (the same as 2016)

As you can see, the decrease isn’t drastic. But as the miles add up, every little bit counts.

If you pay your freelancers for actual costs, you should still expect to cover maintenance, insurance, and other expenses.

 

How are standard mileage rates determined?

 

Standard mileage rates are determined based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. Sharply declining fuel prices contributed to this year’s drop. The decrease was relatively minimal because other expenses, such as insurance and maintenance, increased.

 

What do I need to know about mileage rates?

 

You can find all the nitty gritty details and government legalese about mileage rates and more here. In a nutshell: You’ll be paying your freelancers less for the miles they drive for business purposes in 2017.

 

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.