Compliance

Dynamex decision

A Dynamex Decision newsflash: It’s about to get real with Assembly Bill 5

A Dynamex Decision newsflash: It’s about to get real with Assembly Bill 5 6000 4000 Heidi McLean

If you’re paying attention to the world of independent contractors (ICs), you’re already familiar with the Dynamex Decision (which we covered here). So what makes the recent Assembly Bill 5 news flashy? It’s that this bill approves codifying the ruling. That means the decision is one step closer to being iron-clad law (along with all the usual associated legalese and fines, of course).  

What are the arguments?

Reclassifying many ICs as employees protects workers

Supporters of the bill, such as San Diego Assembly member Lorena González said, “Big businesses shouldn’t be able to pass their costs on to taxpayers while depriving workers of the labor law protections they are rightfully entitled to.”

While it certainly affects many more industries than the ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber, those companies do often end up at the center of the debate. Multiple class action lawsuits prove that plenty of drivers are fighting for the labor protections that come with being employees.

It’s not really about the workers

California frequently passes laws claiming to support the workers, but company representatives for the ride-hailing apps are quick to say workers like the freedom to create their own schedules. You’ll find many independent contractors (drivers as well as those in other industries) who agree. They like being able to choose compatible clients and projects and build a business for themselves instead of feeling like a cog in a corporate wheel.

Some workers could end up making less as employees. Employers don’t pay ICs the same taxes and benefits as they do employees and may start negotiating lower hourly rates for workers in order to keep their profits strong. That means newly-minted employees may make less even as they get access to benefits such as unemployment insurance, health care subsidies, paid parental leave, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and a guaranteed $12 minimum hourly wage.

What is it most certainly about?

Money, cash, and dollar dollar bills

This goes for all parties. This New York Times article says companies like Uber and Lyft would have to raise their labor costs by 20 to 30 percent if they reclassify drivers as employees.

Big-time tax dollars (as in billions with a B)

According to the court’s ruling on the Dynamex decision, “the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a very serious problem, depriving federal and state governments of billions of dollars in tax revenue.”

Small businesses can avoid certain taxes with fewer employees and independent contractors can write off business expenses and may also underreport their income. Hence the resulting “deprivation.”

What about exemptions?  

Not all ICs want to be employees

Many hairstylists, for example, benefit from the “booth rental” model. As part of the salon, they get the benefit of the establishment’s marketing as well as possible walk-in clients. Still, they set their own schedule, manage their own business, and keep any earnings beyond their rent.

The bill seeks to accommodate such industries, hairstylists included, by exempting them from the ruling. There are plenty of other exemptions (such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, insurance agents, accountants, engineers, financial advisers, and real estate agents) in the bill for professionals deemed true independent contractors who negotiate their own contracts.

The bottom line

It’s hard to overstate the potential impact of this subject. These headlines (from this week) demonstrate that this isn’t the last we’ve heard on the subject:

California bill advances, could shape battle in other states

This bill could make Uber drivers employees in California

Just can’t get enough of Dynamex?! We promise to cover everything you’d ever want to know about it and maybe a few things you wish you didn’t need to know.  

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

E-verify

Immigration in the workplace: What you need to know to get it right

Immigration in the workplace: What you need to know to get it right 3916 2769 Alicia East

Immigration is one of the hottest topics in politics and much of the White House’s rhetoric on the subject (including the latest announcement) centers around employment. While employers may not make the policies, they do carry a great deal of responsibility in ensuring their employees are eligible to work in the United States.  

Let’s start with The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA):

This is the foundation for the rest of the article. I-9 and E-Verify are simply tools to support compliance with the IRCA. Read the government info for the definitive legalese, but in a nutshell, this act prohibits employers from:

  • Knowingly hiring unauthorized employees
  • Keeping an unauthorized person employed once they know
  • Knowingly falsifying an unauthorized individual’s paperwork
  • Knowingly accepting falsified documents
  • Discriminating against authorized workers due to national origin or citizenship status
  • Refusing to honor appropriate documents

According to the U.S, Customs Control and Immigration, penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ an unauthorized foreign national range from $375 to $16,000 per violation. 

Notably, these sanctions, as well as the burden to supply an I-9, do not apply to independent contractors (ICs). Since inappropriately classing workers as IC’s can lead to hidden immigration risks, we’ll do our customary shout-out to proper worker classification here.   

Form I-9

Form I-9 is a federal mandate for all employers. “Mandate” is short for: we’ll make you sorry if you don’t comply. An employer must submit the I-9 in accordance with the government’s guidelines. 

It has three sections. In the first, the employee confirms that he or she is authorized to work in the U.S. 

The second section is where employers confirm that they’ve examined the required documents to verify the employee’s identity and eligibility and that the documents appear genuine. This employer must be complete and sign this section within three days of the employee’s start date. 

Employers complete the third section if they need to reverify an employee’s work authorization status or if an employee is rehired within three years of when the Form I-­9 was originally completed.

Additionally, forms must be meticulously completed. Any inaccuracy can cause a fine. And yes, there are I-9 audits and they are on the rise.

Meeting the requirements of Form I-9 makes up the lion’s share of the administrative work when onboarding new or returning employees.

How does E-Verify work?

E-Verify is an additional tool to support employers with IRCA compliance. For certain federal contractors, using E-Verify is mandatory, but employers outside these parameters may choose to use E-Verify voluntarily in conjunction with Form I-9. 

E-Verify allows employers to enter information into an online system and then compares the employee’s identification with government databases including the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. 

When everything matches, the employee gets confirmed. If something doesn’t match, it comes back with a tentative non-confirmation (TNC). From there, the employee can follow a process to update the information that caused the mismatch. Even when everything checks out, there is a formalized process to update everything within the government records. If something doesn’t check out, it can trigger loss of employment or an immigration event. 

What are the challenges of using E-Verify?

Employers who choose to use E-Verify should know it increases the administrative burden within the company. Appropriate company representatives must be very knowledgeable and pass a test before implementing it in the workplace. Once implemented, it must be used consistently across all employees. This burden was particularly notable during the government shutdown, when E-Verify was inoperational, causing additional delays and headaches. 

Additionally, President Trump expressed concern that it may be too tough for some employers. On a Fox interview (around the 5-minute mark) on Sunday, he discussed the possibility of using E-Verify as part of his immigration plan, but said, “The one problem is E-Verify is so tough that in some cases, like farmers, they’re not – they’re not equipped for E-Verify. […] I used it when I built the hotel down the road on Pennsylvania Avenue. I use a very strong E-Verify system. And we would go through 28 people – 29, 30 people before we found one that qualified.”

Employers aren’t the only ones affected, this Washington Post article claims E-Verify may hurt legal workers. Here at PayReel, we’ve seen legal workers end up with a mismatch through the system. It takes at least one live visit to the Social Security Administration to clear it up. 

What now?

As long as we have people entering the country, we’ll be discussing the economics and ethics around immigration. 

Employers must develop an effective compliance program to minimize liability or hire a partner to take on the liability. 

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

Cannabis, workplace impairment, and 5 questions to consider

Cannabis, workplace impairment, and 5 questions to consider 3438 5157 Heidi McLean

workplace impairmentWhat used to be black and white, and is now suddenly gray all over? When marijuana use was simply illegal, employers could legally make employment decisions based on use alone. As states decriminalize the use of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and CBD oil, the conversation gets much more complicated. Nowhere is it more important to pay close attention than in the workplace.

What are some of the complicating factors?

Marijuana products are increasingly finding their way legally into workers’ lifestyles. While marijuana’s presence in the workplace isn’t new, several factors complicate today’s iteration of the conversation:

What do we do about workplace impairment?

Even in a world where some marijuana use is legal, employers are still required to manage impairment. Trends show a push toward treating cannabis more like alcohol and focusing efforts on impairment rather than on use.

For example, while employers can’t tell employees not to drink, they can require employees not to be drunk at work. Even if the drinking happened outside of the office, drunkenness in the workplace hinders workers’ ability to do their job. To varying degrees, and depending on the role (operating heavy machinery, for example), workplace impairment could affect the employee, company equipment, and the public.

Can we talk about legal stuff for a minute?

For every case that rules in favor of the employee, there’s one that rules in favor of the employer. As individual cases play out in the courtrooms, time will tell which ones set the precedent as the law of the land.

In California’s Ross v. Ragingwire case, the courts ruled in favor of the employer, citing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which does not require employers to accommodate medical marijuana use.

On the other end of the spectrum, in Whitmire v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the court sided with an employee with a medical marijuana card. It determined that Walmart could not fire her simply for testing positive for marijuana metabolites. She was a legal user who claimed not to smoke at or before work. To justify her dismissal, Walmart would need to prove she was impaired at work—a much harder task. 

How do we update our policies to evolve with the times?

Black and white “zero tolerance” statements may not serve employers’ best interests anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free for all. It’s really about updating your workplace policies and complying with best practices. Know the rules in your state and update your policies and procedures accordingly. Consider including a definition of workplace impairment and detailing progressive discipline policies to address the behavioral challenges.

Should employers identify signs of impairment (glassy eyes, changes in behavior, etc.), well-written policies and procedures can guide the response and remove as much subjectivity as possible.

What about hiring and firing?

Hiring and firing bring up challenges from both legal and operational standpoints. First, a note on the legal side: in most states that have decriminalized marijuana use, businesses are still legally able to fire workers who test positive. This is the case here in Colorado. On the other hand, in Maine (another state that has legalized recreational use) companies are no longer able to fire or refuse to hire someone for using marijuana outside work.

Even where employers can legally make hiring and firing decisions based on use, the same article indicates that some companies are still testing for other drugs but dropping marijuana in the pre-screening tests. The article quoted James Reidy, an employment lawyer, saying that some companies have a hard enough time filling positions and “don’t want to exclude a whole group of people.” Instead, “companies are thinking harder about the types of jobs that should realistically require marijuana tests. If a manufacturing worker, for instance, isn’t driving a forklift or operating industrial machinery, employers may deem a marijuana test unnecessary.”

The bottom line

Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about cannabis, the conversation around marijuana use and workplace impairment is changing. This affects businesses whether they want to think about it or not. As always, there is no gray area in this simple fact: addressing changes proactively makes life better later.  

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

 

workers' compensation

Four ways to mitigate workers’ compensation risk

Four ways to mitigate workers’ compensation risk 5184 3456 Heidi McLean

Who needs workers’ compensation? Anyone with employees, it turns out. Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment. Just like any other insurance, it’s one you hope you’ll never need. Still, if you do need it, you’ll be so glad you have it. Employers that ensure worker safety and implement best practices before they need them are in the best position to protect employees, keep claims manageable, and maybe even keep premiums down.

Four ways to mitigate workers’ compensation risk

Prevent the need for claims:

Chase prevention like you would chase the crisis or you’ll certainly end up chasing a crisis. Make regular safety meetings, ongoing education, and performance metrics standard procedure. If you don’t have the budget to implement every possible safety measure, you don’t have the budget for the project. The best workers’ comp claim is the one that never happens.

Implement and/or refine your claims management process:

Instead of scrambling to figure out how you’ll handle a claim if it comes up, take steps ahead of time. Make sure that reserves are accurate. Have a standard operating procedure. Decide who will talk to the adjuster and within what time frame. Taking the time to lay out your processes while your brain isn’t in crisis mode means sounder decisions. The added benefit is that it will reassure your adjuster that you’re engaged and motivated to reach a speedy resolution.

Implement a return to work program:

Have a plan for injured workers who have been cleared for modified duty. These measures reassure insurance companies while demonstrating professionalism to employees.

Invest in accurate worker classification:

An independent contractor filing a workers’ comp claim can easily land a well-intentioned company on IRS and DOL radar screens. This happens with surprising frequency despite the logical assumption that an independent contractor should understand the implications of a business-to-business relationship. One key aspect of a true B2B relationship is that a worker’s business activity exists independent of the employer. Preventing misclassification and communicating clearly with workers is a worthwhile preventative investment.

What’s ahead

Analysts anticipate changes for the workers’ compensation industry ahead. They expect “value-based care, political party changes in several states, and a more holistic view of patient injuries” to affect coverage in 2019. Workers’ compensation carriers may face declining profits and escalating claims costs and operating expenses. Companies that address the subject proactively will be in the best position to ensure minimal premium increases. Aside from cost, keeping employees safe is forever a worthwhile investment.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

gig economy

The biggest myth about the gig economy just got busted

The biggest myth about the gig economy just got busted 4000 2764 Heidi McLean

The internet and all its digital descendents (apps, mobile workspaces, etc.) have made it logistically easier than ever to both be and to hire a creative, freelancer, and side hustler. That much is true. Beyond that, there are a whole bunch of splashy headlines and semi-educated guesses about the gig economy’s reach and impact.

Due in part to two Ivy league economists’ predictions, 2015’s descriptions of the gig economy conjured images of companies dismantling their corporate offices while employees flee to the beaches with their sunscreen and laptops. Now, the question is up for debate again. Is the gig economy the wave of the future? Did it ever happen at all?

Either way, it’s time to revisit one of the biggest misconceptions about the gig economy.

The biggest myth about the gig economy just got busted by the same economists who predicted it

Myth: The gig economy is taking over the world!!!  

The 2015 study that launched a thousand predictions said that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of American workers engaged in “alternative work” jumped from 10.7% to 15.8%accounting for nearly all of the job growth during that period. This led many to believe the gig economy would supplant the traditional workforce in grand, irreversible ways. As always though, the truth tends to be a little more complicated than surface numbers can tell us.

Estimates indicate that the contingent workforce makes up somewhere between 10.1% and 35% of the economy. It’s none other than the Bureau of Labor Statistics that reported the higher number in 2017saying 55 million people were gig workers. They went so far as to project the number would increase to around 43% by 2020. That seems like a whole lot, but one important note is that its estimates include everyone from the freelance writer with steady retainer contracts to the weekend Uber driver supplementing her income with an occasional shift. As is always the case with estimates, every differencefrom definitions to the source of informationinfluences the results and leads to large gaps in the findings. 

One common cause for confusion is the fact that contingent workforce and gig economy are often used interchangeably. In reality, the contingent workforce pie consists of many different types of work arrangements (only one of which truly constitutes the gig economy). The first two slices of pie include staffing arrangements and independent contractor projects that are defined by an SOW and milestone based contracts. True gig workers make up the third piece and include those in micro-burst jobs and hourly gigs. They typically find work and get paid through a platform (such as Uber).

Additionally, the same economists who wrote that influential 2015 study now say it was flawedbased on inaccurate data inflated by the recession. This article indicates that, with the benefit of hindsight, the labor economists who wrote the study have revised their findings. Rather than accounting for nearly all of the job growth between 2005 and 2015, they say the gig economy grew modestlymore like one or 2 points.

Rather than an “explosion,” the gig economy seems to be in the decidedly less sexy category of a steady progression.

What we know

Things are changing just like they always do. For workers looking to freelance as a career or thinking of it as a stepping stone to a dream job, it’s never been easier to take the leap. We’ll be keeping an eye on how things continue to shift, including how legislation such as the Dynamex Ruling changes the way we do business.

Whether the predictions that led to a hyped narrative around the gig economy were entirely accurate or not, the government is still paying extra close attention to accurate worker classification. No matter where this evolution leads, it behooves employers to stay on top of accurate worker classification. The consequences of misclassification don’t change with the headlines.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

Our most popular posts of 2019 — to help you make the most of your new year

Our most popular posts of 2019 — to help you make the most of your new year 5184 3456 Heidi McLean
As we find ourselves squarely into first week of the new year, let’s not forget about some of 2018’s most popular posts. We covered everything from how to eat like an adult human (even when you’re working like a dog) to the ever-present discussions around worker classification. Dynamex Decision, anyone?

Here are 5 of 2018’s most popular posts

When an independent contractor becomes an employee: A chain of events

Pumpkin spiced lattes! Babies! Generation Z (move over, Millennials)! What do they all have in common? They’re a constant reminder that there’s nothing so constant as change. With its ever-narrowing definition of an independent contractor, California is embarking on the real-time evolution of the gig economy. Here’s the chain of events a company and its workers might go through in response to such changes. Read more.

3 common freelancing myths, plus the truth (can you handle it?)

To overworked, underappreciated 9-5ers, freelancing may seem like the holy grail. But going out on your own isn’t just a world of free-flowing creative juices, coffee breaks, and wads of money. Freelancing can make you feel just as burnt out and unstimulated as whatever made you take a hike from your previous gig in the first place.

Here are 3 common freelancing myths–plus ways to make the road less traveled work for you. Read more.

Who’s FICA? Why’s he getting all my money?

Today, we’re going to dive into the light, easy, totally uncontroversial world of taxes. As in, “Who’s FICA? Why’s he getting all my money?”

About once a week, the PayReel office phone rings with someone on the other end of the line referring to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) with exactly the same tone you’d expect with a four letter word. We understand. Read more.

5 skills that will make any freelancer ultra-hirable and profitable

Freelancing is a balls to the wall, pride-swallowing siege and these days, it seems everyone is fighting it out for business. How do you make that business yours? One way is to solve the problems clients have (the ones they called you about) and then go even further by solving the ones they haven’t even thought about yet. That’s when you become an advisor clients can’t live without rather than a freelancer they can replace tomorrow.

Every freelancer should seek to be as hirable and desirable as possible in today’s competitive marketplace. Here are 5 of the most coveted skills as well as where you can hone them for free/next to free. Read more.

How have “work relationships” changed as offices become obsolete?

Gone are the days when “work relationships” are made up of people we see on a regular basis. We can literally have an entire functioning relationship without ever seeing a person or even hearing their voice. Talk about an evolution from the days when sharing an office building was a prerequisite. Here are some of the biggest ways work relationships have changed with the evolving workplace. Read more.

Onward!

With rulings like the Dynamex decision changing the way businesses operate and the digital workspace becoming more common, we are in the middle of one of the biggest evolutions in the modern economy. We will be keeping an eye on the quickly-evolving business dynamics of the 21st century. The one thing we can always be sure of is that change is around every corner.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

3 reasons you can’t afford to ignore worker classification rules

3 reasons you can’t afford to ignore worker classification rules 768 951 Heidi McLean

With its settlement just this week, General Assembly is the latest to make news on the worker classification issue. Companies aren’t the only ones paying attention. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) have enough skin in the game to keep a close eye on the subject, too. When those two pay close attention to something, it behooves all companies to do the same or risk costly, damaging, and time-consuming consequences.

Here are 3 reasons you can’t ignore worker classification rules:

1.   The government isn’t

For years, the IRS and DOL had bigger fish to fry. Lax regulations essentially led to a jaywalker’s attitude among businesses. The thought being that it’s okay to ignore the unnecessarily-restrictive law as long as you look both ways. As the economic landscape shifts and independent contractors rise in prevalence, the financial stakes and potential for missed revenue get higher. In response, government agencies have been ramping up their focus on the subject and the debate on how to define an employee rages on.

The IRS and DOL are not alone. States are joining the fray, attempting to crack down on misclassification, too.

2.   Consequences are expensive

There’s big money at stake. In addition to potential for paying back pay and benefits,you’re looking at a per employee fine and potential legal fees, too. General Assembly’s one million dollar settlement is small potatoes. Look a little further back and you’ll find that FedEx shelled out $228 million in a misclassification case. Then there’s well-known Microsoft example, in which $97 million was paid out plus millions in legal fees in a benefits dispute with its long-term temps. And of course there’s Uber which lost a dispute over whether drivers were independent contractors (as Uber said) or employees (as the law determined).

Just when you thought government scrutiny was driving you crazy enough, here come the lawyers. Where the money goes, they follow. There’s big money in class action lawsuits seeking unpaid benefits, expenses and overtime for workers who can make a case they should’ve been treated as employees.

3.   “We didn’t mean to” doesn’t hold up in court

When you knowingly misclassify employees as independent contractors, it’s called wage theft. When you do it accidentally, it’s called wage theft.

Yes, the rules are confusing. Like many things government, oh what a tangled web the federal and state laws weave. Some laws are interpreted differently from state to state and some tests used to determine status are subjective. But the rules, straight from the horse’s mouth, is a good place to start.

Bottom line

In addition to the financial burdens and time-sucking nature of it all, your credibility is on the line. Getting audited is a PR nightmare and depending on the industry or nature of the company’s business, the press would love to expose a company’s misclassification and actual or perceived abuse of labor laws.

Getting the government, lawyers, and media on your case is a guaranteed trifecta of pain. It can be overwhelming, but even the DOL and IRS recognize independent contractors can be a legitimate part of a business plan and are an important part of our economy. The best way to stay in the clear is to stay in the know. So get smart and there’s no need to burn your W9s and run for the hills.

Need more?

Take our five-minute classification self-audit and review our compliance best practices.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

Worker safety resources for wild weather

Worker safety resources for wild weather 3000 2000 Heidi McLean

What does it mean to do right by your workers with weather that’s getting wilder by the day? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean: waiting until someone has a heat stroke to think about worker safety. As we head into August — historically one of the hottest months of the year in much of the U.S. — it’s a good time to talk about workplace safety. Protecting workers, especially those who spend extended time outdoors, requires a little extra forethought and attention. By taking some precautions against heat-related issues, businesses can lower safety risks and prevent fines and lawsuits, too.

Worker Safety in Extreme Heat

Staying compliant with OSHA’s guidelines on Occupational Heat Exposure prevents workers from getting heat related illness. It also prevents them from missing work and you from getting fined. Keep everyone safe so neither you nor your employees end up paying the price.

  1. Provide water, rest, and shade: It’s easy to get into a project and forget about the time. Sometimes proactive measures like mandatory breaks with plenty of hydration will remind people to take care of themselves in the heat.
  2. Recognize the signs: Managers should be on high alert for symptoms of heat exhaustion. According to the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), “Persons suffering from heat exhaustion might have cool, moist skin; sweat heavily; or complain of headache, nausea or lightheadedness.”
  3. Download the app: At different temperatures and conditions, different measures are appropriate. The U.S. Department of Labor makes it as easy as possible to monitor the heat index as well as its associated risks with its heat safety app. You can also schedule reminders for water breaks and more with a few taps.

General Emergency Preparedness

Heat isn’t the only hazard workers may face. OSHA’s website provides resources for winter weather and just about every situation here. Preventative measures for upcoming cold weather and other inclement weather issues is a worthwhile investment. OSHA offers free on-site consultations to help diligent employers eliminate any problems up front. Contact them at 1-800-321-OSHA for more information.

Bottom line

It’s not just about staying compliant with the letter of the law, but about understanding and staying true to the spirit behind it. Even if you can push temporary employees a little further to get the job done faster, it’s worth going above and beyond to provide a safe environment.

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

gig economy

The gig economy: What California’s ruling means for business

The gig economy: What California’s ruling means for business 5184 3456 Heidi McLean

Gray areas: the stuff of messy legal battles, public relations disasters, and HR headaches. Among the grayest of the gray is worker classification. While it isn’t a new topic, the gig economy is forcing the worker classification debate to a head, leaving the task of finding clarity to the courts. The latest ruling to make headlines continues to rein in the definition of an employee versus an independent contract. At its most basic, the decision means that it’s now harder to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

1. What are the ruling’s implications?

The definition of independent contractors or employees affects all companies—big and small, gig-economy based or not. Independent contractors are not subject to the same compensation and benefit requirements that employees are. It’s less expensive to engage independent contractors, who are not subject to minimum-wage and overtime laws and are also responsible for their own insurance and payroll taxes. According to this article, the ruling did away with the previous test for determining a worker’s category and replaced it with one in which “the worker is considered an employee if he or she performs a job that is part of the “usual course” of the company’s business.”

According to the same article, the ruling also determined that, “a company must show that it does not control and direct the worker, and that the worker is truly an independent business operator, not just classified that way unilaterally.” So businesses can’t just call someone an IC because it’s convenient for their bottom line.

2. What can companies do to prevent worker classification problems?

That I can answer in one word: systems!

The rules for setting up an independent contractor aren’t always easy to interpret. As demonstrated by this and many other rulings, it’s also ever-changing. In fact, we dedicated a whole section of our website to risk compliance, including this 5-minute worker classification self audit to help you understand the law and avoid costly fines. Fuzzy terms are the kiss of death in all things legal. Having a secure classification partner / system in place is the best antidote to the fuzz.

In addition to setting up independent contractors correctly, having an airtight system in place for consistently payrolling all of those contractors also protects against future headaches.

The bottom line

Confusion over worker classification and inconsistent payment practices can lead to fines, lawsuits, and unhappy workers or customers—all of which are damaging to business. With proper compliance securities in place, businesses rise above the gray fuzz and find a clear path. Rulings like these aren’t made for the businesses who are already operating above board. They’re made for the ones that are either willfully or ignorantly pushing the envelope. Any way you slice it, making sure you get worker classification right up front is worth the investment.

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

 

This Worker Classification Myth is Hurting Your Business

This Worker Classification Myth is Hurting Your Business

This Worker Classification Myth is Hurting Your Business 2000 2000 Heidi McLean

Sorry, y’all: The five-second rule is bogus. Germs don’t offer a grace period before jumping on your food. Not even your last bite of the really delicious stuff. But that one about metal objects dissolving in a glass of Coke? Still up for debate. And we won’t be testing it to find out.

Myths can be dangerous, silly, or in the case of worker classification—bad for business.

There is a fine line between an employee and an independent contractor and laws surrounding worker classification are confusing. We’ve seen companies go to great lengths to comply with nonexistent rules, so we were compelled to bust one of the most damaging worker classification myths we’ve seen.

 

The Myth About Worker Classification

After a certain amount of time working for you, an independent contractor must be reclassified as an employee.

We think this myth likely comes from one-time best practices that were interpreted as hard and fast rules. Wherever the myth comes from, we’ve seen clients build all sorts of policies to get around the supposed law. We’ve seen them hire workers for six months, drop them for a period of time, and then rehire them, for example. Some companies even refuse to rehire independent contractors after working with them for a certain amount of time because they’re afraid they’ll have to provide all of the benefits associated with hiring an employee. Not only are these policies time consuming, they can hurt businesses that rely on trustworthy freelancers.

 

The Truth About Worker Classification

We think it’s time for everyone to bust the myth and bust free from self-imposed restrictions.

Here’s the liberating truth: If you find a good contractor and want to use them over and over, you can. There are rules, which vary by location, but there are also legal ways to keep your best people working for you.

If you’re confused by compliance laws and fear your workers are misclassified, PayReel can help. Reach out to our team of experts on all things freelance. Get away from the burden of onboarding, payrolling and classifying your workers and focus on what you love.

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.