Knowing that life’s only two certainties are death and taxes, let’s turn our attention to how the IRS determines independent contractor status. Previously, the IRS used to apply a 20-factor test to determine whether or not an individual could be classified as an independent contractor. A number of years ago they moved to what they call a “common-law” test that focuses on the degree of control the business exercises in achieving its purposes versus the degree of independence the worker has to actually perform the tasks themselves.
As described in IRS Publication 15-A, the IRS will closely examine each of the following three areas: “behavioral control, financial control, and the type of relationship of the parties.” Let’s take a look at each.
A recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) reported 94% of leaders feel employee engagement is an important or very important workforce challenge. An engaged workforce increases operational income by over 19%, while a disengaged workforce can drain over 34% of an organizations’ operational income. Additional risks of low engagement can be seen in increased turnover, low customer satisfaction ratings and even increased employment litigation.
During the White House’s Summit on Working Families on June 24, 2014, President Obama indicated he was signing a presidential memorandum requiring every federal agency to address flexible work schedules and give employees the right to request such schedules. Absent what could be a dramatic increase in workplace flexibility for federal employees, it is undeniable that the demand for flexibility and work-life balance is on the rise.
The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) and its related state agencies are charged with making sure that employees are given the modern-day equivalent of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. Employers who fail to do so can be subject to back-pay claims, penalties and attorneys’ fees.
On May 11, 2014, the governor of Minnesota signed the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA), a bill that will require Minnesota employers to make dramatic changes to their employment policies and practices.
While WESA directly impacts employers who conduct business in Minnesota, the changes follow plans by federal and local governments to expand legal protections for women and other employees. For this reason, employers in other jurisdictions should pay close attention to these national and state law trends.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the various regulatory agencies have stated their keen interest in rooting out misclassified independent contractors. In the context of work comp, there are two likely scenarios that could uncover a misclassification — a routine insurance carrier audit or a work-related injury suffered by an “independent contractor”. Since insurance companies regularly conduct audits for their clients, this article will focus an audit triggered by an independent contractor getting injured.
Risk management and human resources are traditionally two different job functions, and the people in these areas have rarely crossed paths — but that is changing.
Why are these people starting to work together more frequently?
Personal social media posts by your employees can have all sorts of unintended business impacts. How you respond (or don’t respond) can have both legal and practical implications. Fortunately, you have more power than you think. While social media has been the platform for any number of very positive things, it can also be terribly divisive and hurtful. Rather than seeking out opposing viewpoints, some people immerse themselves in echo chambers who think exactly the way that they do to the exclusion of others, and in such environments, it’s easy for everything to become politicized.
While managing remote employees does have some unique challenges, the basic skills necessary to successfully do so aren’t that different than those used to effectively manage in-person staff; the ways those skills are employed, as well as the mindfulness with which they’re leveraged, may be what’s different instead.
I had the opportunity to speak recently at a Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) conference where I shared my experience from my former career as a flight attendant. There’s a parallel between my previous office, an airplane, and a more traditional office when thinking about the importance of trust in connecting with and motivating people.
As states loosen stay-at-home restrictions, many businesses are grappling with how to deal with the myriad issues that arise in connection with bringing employees back into the workplace. These decisions are complicated by the fact that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and looks likely to stick around for the foreseeable future. In this article we’ll discuss the various considerations that should be part of your return-to-work planning. If you haven’t already done so, you should check out our COVID-19 Back to Business Planning Tool, which goes into greater depth on most of the things discussed in this article, provides helpful checklists, and contains template documents along with other resources.
If you could give human form to your safety culture, what would it look like?
Maybe it would be a thick-set, shirtless brute named Trog with a foul disposition beating out a drum cadence to keep your employees rowing in-sync.
Or would it be more like a fussy and constantly disapproving Dickensian paper-pusher named Fizzlewhite who has never met a rule or procedure he didn’t like, even though he hasn’t done most of the things he creates rules to address?
“The only thing that is constant is change.”
Turns out that dusty old Greek philosophers occasionally say profound things (Heraclitus also said that a man’s character is his destiny). And since the Greeks are considered the fathers of democracy and were responsible for no small number of laws themselves, it seems an appropriate departure point to talk about the constantly changing landscape of employment laws.
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