Contract work: It ain’t your father’s career track!

The workforce is evolving. There are fewer full-time positions and more project-oriented, “we’ll call you when we need you” jobs. Funny thing is many young, culturally diverse people coming into the workforce don’t necessarily want to be anchored to a single employer. They certainly aren’t looking for the stable but inflexible gigs their parents coveted. These workers, in some circles referred to as “millennials,” are not looking to belong to one company. They are looking for contract work – something that allows them to explore and thrive.

The changing landscape

Boredom is the true enemy of the emerging workforce who have spent a lifetime consuming quick-moving digital content. That means employers have their work cut out for them to keep these expressive, gifted, and demanding people engaged. Companies are responding with cereal rooms, napping pods, and mandatory time off / unlimited vacation (that’s Upworthy we’re talking about and yes, they’re hiring).

Why people choose contract work

Some people love the gig economy because they get to choose when and how to work. They can pick the jobs that appeal to them. They can decide whether to accept a job or hit the slopes. It has (at least in theory) restored the work / life balance that many millennials feel their parents’ generation lost.

Drawbacks of contract work

With all the benefits of contract work, it may seem like there isn’t really a place for brick and mortar offices and full-time positions anymore. And while their prominence in the workforce is decreasing, they still exist (and will for the foreseeable future). We still need them. For now. And besides, contract work still has its drawbacks, including less stability and fewer built-in benefits such as 401K matching, sick days, paid holidays, and healthcare. Having fewer workers on-site can also pose challenges for businesses because the office environment encourages team morale and facilitates communication, which in turn supports a unified brand identity. Being in one location also allows for in-person meetings and there simply isn’t an adequate substitute for that yet.

The bottom line

If you make your living job to job, PayReel’s real team of real people is here for you. We provide personal service to make sure employees get paid quickly and accurately. Go ahead, give us a shot!  You can call us anytime at 303.526.4900 or reach us by email at info@payreel.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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 customer service agents on call around the clock to answer your questions. The PayReel team makes event and corporate 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!

Misclassification in the news: What you need to know

While the workforce has plenty of people legitimately doing contract work, when employees are misclassified as contractors, the worker and the government are both likely to miss out. The government loses potential tax dollars and workers lose out on benefits and more. Employers should care about it, too (and not just because the legal stakes are high). It’s about more than the bottom line.

Below are some recent headlines about the evolving workforce and its related consequences:

 

Misclassification in the news: The headlines

North Carolina Governor Signs Law Creating Division to Investigate and Prosecute Employee Misclassification Claims

Highlight: While the federal government has had employee misclassification in its sights for a while, states are now getting in on the game to add heat to errant companies.

March 2017 Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance News Update

Highlight: extensively covers recent and current misclassification lawsuits.

New Case Shows That “Uber-ization” of Workforce Could Lead to Misclassification Challenge Highlight: discusses the challenge of determining what an independent contractor is when gray areas in the gig-like aspects of their work exist.

Gig economy creates legal puzzles for the courts

Highlight: discusses what we know about the interests of all parties as well as possible reforms (including the possibility of adding a third worker definition). 

 

Enter PayReel

The way we work and manage businesses are both evolving as contract work increases with the gig economy. With that comes growing pains and litigation. Worker classification is an increasingly sticky subject (Gorilla Glue status, perhaps?) and one we’ve covered extensively (see more posts on the subject here).

If the topic of misclassification makes you sweat, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. Partners who make your life easier are worth the investment. A payroll service may be right for those who don’t have the bandwidth or interest in digging into the legalese. PayReel manages payroll taxes and, as the employer of record, takes on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more.

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. We make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and see that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or email us.

Relax. We got it.

 

How to simplify onboarding your freelancers

How much time are you spending setting up your freelancers?

If the answer is too much, then maybe it’s time to reconsider your methods. Let PayReel handle onboarding paperwork so you can spend your time and energy on the creative parts of your projects instead.

 

So what’s the problem?

Worker classification: One of the most difficult things about setting up your workforce is worker classification. That’s why we cover the topic extensively on our blog. While you may be able to answer who’s a strong worker and who might need a little bit of help, the worker classification discussion brings a lot more to the table than a black-and-white answer—especially now with the Department of Labor cracking down on worker classification errors. If the words exempt, non-exempt, W-2, and 1099 make your head spin, we can help with that.

Paying accurately: Another trick that comes into play when hiring your workforce is making sure you’re paying them accurately (we’re looking at you, minimum wage and overtime!) and in a timely manner. Did you know that some states have strict pay deadlines for specific types of employees? We know, and our team works hard to stay on top of the ever-changing wage laws at the federal, state, and local levels.

Payroll taxes: If taxes only cross your mind on or around April 15th, do the IRS (and yourself) a favor, and stop. Did you know that, along with differing wage laws, some states and localities require a different taxation method than the federal government does? It’s true. Here’s where we stress (and the only time we stress), we got it. Our team stays well versed in local, state, and ever-changing federal tax methods and laws to make sure the employee is happy, you’re happy, and of course, the IRS is happy.

 

Enter PayReel

If one, two, or all three of the points above make you sweat, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help manage your events, employees, and all the behind-the-scenes paperwork that comes with it.

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. We make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and see that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or email us.

Relax. We got it.

About the author

Nat's notes

PayReel Customer Experience Manager Natalie “The Go Getter” McGinnis is an avid fan of sports and labor laws alike. Her experience in recruitment, customer service, and ongoing HR education give her the tools to provide laser-focused attention and assistance to the PayReel employees and clients who need it most. Click here to read more of Nat’s Notes then meet the rest of the PayReel team!

 

 

 

The gig economy is here to stay: Here’s what it means for businesses

The gig economy now makes up 34% of the US workforce. Gone are the days when cubicles dominate workers’ worlds from 9 to 5 Mondays through Fridays. Independent contractors are more likely to do the bulk of their work from home or from Starbucks than from a cubicle or brick and mortar offices. Tax laws, employment laws, and freelance payroll are all evolving in response. Here are some of the main implications for businesses:

 

Smaller core staff

As independent contractors do more of the work for businesses, many companies are shifting towards smaller core staffs. While there are benefits to having workers under the same roof during the same hours, small businesses may benefit financially by being responsible for fewer full-time workers.

 

New legal considerations  

Freelance payroll is a different ballgame and one of its biggest considerations is worker classification. While it was once a fairly black and white issue, the subject grows more important and more challenging each day. This highly confusing topic also carries intense legal ramifications. The government is paying more attention than ever (see Uber and America’s pastime as prime examples) to making sure workers are classified correctly—and making someone pay when they aren’t.

 

The bottom line  

Subjects like payroll taxes, worker classification, and freelance payroll get more complicated by the day. Partners who help make sense of a tricky transition as big as this one are worth the investment. At PayReel, we manage all of the above and, as the employer of record, we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more.

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. We make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and 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.

 

When America’s pastime and labor laws collide

Unpaid training. Unpaid overtime. A $25 stipend for an entire day spent in a city you don’t live in. If that sounds great to you and you know your way around a baseball diamond, head on over to your city’s minor league baseball team. You’d be a great fit.

We’re not talking about the guys in the majors whom you watch on TV. They make six figures per year on average. We’re talking about Minor League Baseball (MiLB) players who forego payment for training, overtime, and even mandatory events—often making under the IRS-defined poverty line of $12,060/year for a one person household.

 

Hold up. How is this happening?

If you’re having trouble believing me, you’re not alone.

In a piece for ESPN advocating for higher wages, Tony Blengino, a former assistant to the GM for the Mariners, says a first-year professional can expect to make a little over $1,000 pre tax every month. While other industries may point to thin profit margins as an excuse for low wages, professional baseball doesn’t fit the bill. Recent evaluation puts the average major league team’s worth at $1.54 billion.

That’s why a group of former minor leaguers are waging a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball, who maintains that MiLB players are akin to hourly workers. The suit cites unfair wages and unjust labor practices according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Of the 2,200 players currently involved in the class action lawsuit, most are inactive. Kyle Johnson, one of the few active members, said players fear being blackballed and unable to get a gig in the future.

The Major League Baseball Player’s Association (MLBPA) protects major league players against low salaries and unfair labor standards. However, this protection only applies to players currently on the team’s 40-man roster. Until MiLB players unionize, many keep quiet and hope they make it to the majors quickly. They choose to endure rather than potentially lose a shot at their dream.

 

So what does it all mean?

Baseball is only one of many industries figuring out labor laws and fair pay. Uber’s recent struggles show the gig economy and the worker classification challenges it brings to the forefront are top-of-mind topics for the government and employers alike. While some workers wait for the government to adjust labor laws and employers to fall in line, others (like the minor leaguers involved in current litigation) take the matter into their own hands. Stay in tune with the conversation to know your rights and navigate the increasingly complicated waters of the American economy.

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic—and working them is even more so! 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 customer service agents on call around the clock to answer your questions at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

 

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

 

Nat's notes

About the author

PayReel Customer Experience Manager Natalie “The Go Getter” McGinnis is an avid sports and labor law fan alike. Her experience in recruitment, customer service, and ongoing HR education give her the tools to provide laser-focused attention and assistance to the PayReel employees and clients who need it most. Click here to read more of Nat’s Notes and meet the rest of the PayReel team by clicking here!

 

How to navigate the increasingly dangerous waters of worker classification

Just as the stakes are getting higher, worker classification is getting trickier. The rise of the gig economy has led to an exponential increase in the number of independent contractors it brings into the labor pool each day. Lawmakers are taking note,  and the government ain’t playin’. Tax and employment law violations can lead to severe consequences. Employers shouldn’t play either. Here are some ways to tell the difference between an employee and an independent contractor and some questions worth asking before bringing an independent contractor on board.

 

How to tell independent contractors and employees apart

This is a meaty subject with a mountain of government legalese to back it up. Thankfully, employers can look at some of the main factors the government considers to sort out any areas of confusion, including the following:

  • The employer’s degree of control over the worker
  • The worker’s opportunity for profit or loss
  • The worker’s investment in facilities
  • How long-term the relationship is
  • The worker’s skill set

If you’re confused by gray areas, of which there are plenty, Upwork provides a simple IC v. employee compare-and-contrast chart that would make your high school English teacher proud. We also dive deeper and provide a handy cheat sheet and additional resources on the subject here.

But if you’re still uncertain, engaging a contractor management firm is your safest bet.

 

Questions to ask before hiring an independent contractor

1.  Am I confident I could make a strong case for the classification we chose?

If there is any question whether you’re on solid ground with your decision, you’re probably on very un-solid ground. It’s worth engaging support to make sure you get it right before it hits the courtroom.

 

2. What are the consequences if I get it wrong? 

Uber has provided über lessons on worker classification woes. It’s clear that the consequences can be steep and that the DOL is ready to drop the hammer on misclassification.

 

3. Do I need professional support and a built-in insurance plan to make sure I get it right? 

Navigating the dangerous waters and staying compliant is harder and more important than ever. Worker classification is one of those areas in which you can’t afford to take risks. Partners who make your life easier are worth the investment. A payroll service may be right for those who don’t have the bandwidth or interest in digging into the legalese. At PayReel, we manage payroll taxes and, as the employer of record, we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more.

 

About PayReel

When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. 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 all payroll services and 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.

 

The gig economy: How to pay contractors and navigate benefits

The gig economy offers benefits to workers and companies alike. While those benefits do include flexibility for workers and lower costs to employers, they don’t cover things we’ve grown used to such as built-in 401K plans, health insurance options, and worker’s compensation. For many independent contractors, that’s a problem. And as the gig economy’s slice of the economic pie grows, so does the problem. Currently, there is no roadmap telling you how to pay contractors fairly while keeping costs down. The good news is that we at PayReel have been on this road long enough to learn how to pay contractors legally and ethically.

 

Start with worker classification

First things first: classify workers correctly from the outset. A worker’s classification (whether they’re an employee or an independent contractor) guides what freelance benefits they’re entitled to by law. The rise of the gig economy has brought with it the rise of confusion over who is an employee and who is a contractor. Wherever gray areas and money meet, you will find lawsuits. True to form, legal disputes over worker classification have plagued everyone from Uber to FedEx. Following the rules and classifying correctly from the beginning saves time and potential legal troubles.

 

Stay aware of potential legal changes

From workers to legislators, people are thinking about how to manage the evolving landscape. Some envision an entirely new system with changing guidelines that suit changing times. Such a system might include “portable benefits” that travel with workers from company to company.

According to this article from the Pew Charitable Trusts, one bill proposes to:

“require people or companies that find work for and transfer payments to independent contractors — Uber, say, or a middleman who works with farm laborers — to contribute to a pool of money managed by an independent nonprofit. The broker might do that by charging consumers extra or by taking the money out of workers’ pay.

Contributions would be made at least monthly and would have to amount to either $6 per hour worked or 25 percent of the sum charged to the consumer, whichever is smaller. The money could be spent on paid time off, health insurance or other qualified benefits.”

We can only guess how things will change, but we do expect them to change. It behooves company leaders to stay in tune with these kinds of conversations and legal considerations.

 

Consider more than the bottom line

Some companies aren’t waiting for a legal mandate to make changes. Instead, they are voluntarily providing freelance benefits beyond their legal requirements. Care.com, for example, adds a small fee to each transaction, which converts to “benefits bucks” that service providers may use for expenses such as transportation. This kind of perk goes beyond the money in a worker’s pocket. Workers who feel valued are more loyal and do better work.  

 

Protect yourself

If you can’t (or just don’t want to) keep up with the rules and developments surrounding the on-demand economy, PayReel can keep up for you. Check out this handy guide to see if you might benefit from hiring a payroll services company. Not only does our team manage worker classification, payroll, and payroll taxes; as the employer of record we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Going above and beyond in the ethics department isn’t just a warm and fuzzy notion. It’s a sound business decision, too.

 

About PayReel

When it comes to payroll taxes and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. 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 all payroll services and 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.

 

What do Trump’s first 100 days mean for the on-demand economy?

 

If anything’s certain, it’s that very little is certain when it comes to the rumors and grand plans that often surround any President’s first 100 days in office.

Worker classification was a major focus during President Obama’s administration, which resulted in a rash of highly-publicized lawsuits and debates across the U.S. just as the the on-demand economy was coming of age.

The Trump administration’s focus on that same unique issue might actually play out favorably this time around for employers who rely on independent contractors. But before you throw all your paperwork out the window—that doesn’t mean classification is going out the window, too. In fact, some states and localities might even tighten restrictions and increase punishments for misclassification in response to relaxed federal law.

In short, things are as up in the air as ever when it comes to federal government trying to keep up with rapid developments in the on-demand economy.

Here’s what to do while you wait to see what President Trump’s first 100 days mean for the on-demand economy.

 

Be vigilant when it comes to compliance

Federal, state, and local regulations already change regularly; who knows how things could fluctuate as the government tries to get a grasp on how benefits, taxes, and everything else could and should shift as workforces get more and more nontraditional.

 

Don’t slack on classification

The process of classification might eventually get easier, but it’s not likely to go away. If the current situation is any indication, it could even get a bit hairier for some states and localities as they react to uncertain or lax laws at the federal level.

 

The bottom line:

If you can’t (or just don’t want to) keep up with the rules and developments surrounding the on-demand economy—PayReel can keep up for you. Not only does our team manage worker classification, payroll, and payroll taxes; as the employer of record we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce.

 


 

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 all payroll services and 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.

 

DOL drops the hammer on worker classification

 

If you’ve been paying attention to labor law (or more specifically worker classification) in the news or the grumbles of your last Uber driver, you may know that the on-demand driver provider is facing a three-headed monster. It’s not stoplights, stop signs, and lane changes—instead, it’s a mess of more than 70 federal lawsuits against Uber from drivers, passengers, and even the government.

What brought it all on? To start, Uber has classified their drivers (both full and part time) as contractors, while drivers feel that they’re treated as employees. As things stand today, those drivers are correct—they are employees. That decision has cost Uber $100 million in a settlement in both California and Massachusetts. More settlements and lawsuits are still pending.

The difference between W-2 employees and 1099 independent contractors occupies a grey area. This grey area has become the target of a Department of Labor crackdown. The DOL is dropping the hammer and strengthening their enforcement of worker classification. If they’re not careful, companies could face lawsuits from many angles. If Uber is any indication, that’s not likely to turn out very well.

 

The bottom line

At PayReel, compliance comes first. We don’t just classify your employees properly, we even pay them properly so that you can hire who you want exactly when you want them. If grey areas aren’t your thing and if the term “lawsuit” makes your heart skip a beat—relax, we got it. Contact us around the clock at 303-526-4900 or email us here.

 


 
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!

 

Overtime exemptions are on hold. How will it affect you?

 

A ruling slated to put an additional $1.2 billion per year in workers’ pockets is now on ice. Here is the state of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and what it means for your business.

 

What exactly is  the FSLA?

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) FSLA includes new overtime exemptions. If and when it goes into effect, the law will nearly double the salary threshold (from $455/week to $913), thereby making up to 4.2 million more people non-exempt and eligible to be paid overtime.

On November 22, 2016, a week before the ruling was to take effect, a judge in Texas won a preliminary injunction against it. While the twenty other states that fought to end the act breathed a sigh of relief, the DOL cried foul and filed an appeal.

As of this posting, the battle continues.

 

What do stalled overtime exemptions mean for businesses?

Like all things involving government and money, it’s complicated. And it’s likely to cause headaches for anyone digging in to the nitty gritty details.

With the issue in limbo at a federal level, states are trying to figure this thing out on their own—which makes room for a lot of gray areas. Gray areas are where lawsuits live. There are different labor laws at the federal and state levels. In most legal situations, federal trumps state. It’s different with labor laws, though, because states are only required to use federal guidelines as a baseline.

Another place with plenty of room for confusion is worker classification, which we cover in an ongoing blog series here. Often, workers fall into both exempt and non-exempt classification categories, which affects eligibility for a slew of benefits, including overtime. In these cases, classification depends on a weighted scale of the employees’ duties. It’s shockingly easy to misclassify workers and rack up legal fees and fines before you know it. Classifying workers correctly the first time around puts employers in a better position to adjust to changing laws in the future.

PayReel’s policy pros—in conjunction with our custom PayReel OnLine software—protect your sanity and your finances by sifting through the legal complexities and taking responsibility for your workers. As the employer of record for our clients, we are the ones on the hook if we get it wrong. The good news is, that rarely happens.

With PayReel, you can hire who you want, when you want, without worrying about overtime exemptions and worker classification. As the ones who are legally liable for our employees, and morally liable to our clients, we’re dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of both so we can make the right decisions.

 

What’s the bottom line?

The end of the year is a great time to review your payroll practices to be sure you are compliant or are in a position to stay compliant as laws change. If you don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to make sure you’re not trapped in a legal gray zone, get in touch with a team who does. PayReel’s policy pros are available around the clock at 303-526-4900, or you can shoot us an email by clicking here.

 


 
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!