Monday, March 28, 2011

Are your contractors really independent?

Is your business a little busier than last year? There are reports all around that business is growing. Yet, some businesses are skittish about hiring.
In these times, a business may decide to hire an independent contractor – aka a freelancer/1099er – rather than an employee. This can be effective but can also be a landmine of issues if not done properly.
It is important.
As part of a national research project on employment taxes, the IRS is auditing 6,000 randomly selected companies ranging from large to small firms and even non-profits. The goal of the program, which is scheduled to last from 2010 to 2012, is to create a scoring system for employment taxes.
The audits are focusing on failure to file; fringe benefit issues; executive compensation, including stock options; and employees misclassified as independent contractors. The IRS has noted that there is no defined time period of years that will be covered during the audit.
The federal government estimates it will raise billions of dollars through tighter enforcement.
There are clear guidelines for what determines independent contractor status. These are right from the IRS web site:
Common law rules

In determining whether the person providing service is an employee or an independent contractor, all information that provides evidence of the degree of control and independence must be considered.
Facts that provide evidence of the degree of control and independence fall into three categories:
•Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?
•Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker's job controlled by the payer? These include things like how the worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed and who provides tools or supplies.
•Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits, such as pension plan, insurance or vacation pay? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?
So what happens?

If you have misclassified an employee as an independent contractor you need to be aware of the implications. You may find yourself responsible for employment taxes and penalties, as well for various benefits for which the misclassified employee may be eligible. These include vacation, sick pay, retirement plans, worker's compensation, health insurance and unemployment.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Employers can conduct their own audit to determine if independent contractors are properly classified. Also, there are experts who can help you to ensure that classifications are consistent with applicable law. A self audit should, at a minimum, include the following steps:
•Identify all independent contractors.
•Review written agreements to determine how the contractor relationship is structured.
•Review in detail the documentation related to how the contractor is paid.
•Consider the type of services performed by the contractor and whether employees perform similar services.
•Determine how the contractor performs the services, e.g., on company premises; with company provided necessary equipment; does the company direct when, where, and how the services are performed.
•Consider how long the contractor has performed services for the company and whether the contractor was engaged for a specific project or is performing services.
Employers should develop a formal procedure for the lawful hiring of independent contractors, establish guidelines for hiring contractors, and develop a written independent contractor agreement.
Many companies utilize 1099 contractors to supplement traditional W-2 employee workforces. If done correctly, this can be a useful method for controlling labor costs and engaging needed expertise.
Companies, however, either negligently or intentionally violate the law by misclassifying workers as contractors instead of employees. Be sure your independent contractors are truly independent.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Women supporting women?

When I am skeptical of something, I watch for the trend to see if it is real. I read something recently that caught my eye.   The article talked about how executive women still don't help executive women-and with the tone of the article --I felt the writer was saying "like they should."  I have never been a believer in support without knowledge.  And I don't think support should be assumed.  I didn't think much more about the article until last night. (so I can't remember which of the 20 magazines I get it was in!)

This discussion came up when Oprah Winfrey supported Obama and not Clinton for the presidency.  The same seems true for the City of Tampa.  The current Mayor Pam Iorio did not support Rose Ferlita but rather the male running-Bob Buckhorn, who won last night.

I think it is a step in the right way when people can support who they want to support and not the assumed:"You are like me, so I will support you." attitude.

I think there is a shortage of support all around.  Sharing the insight into a profession someone wishes to pursue needs to be a common trait.  Unfortuantely, in the age of networking-and rolodex derbys of card collecting --the establishment of true relationships is getting lost.

Maybe that is why I like Chambers of Commerce;  you get to know the community and the people in it.  I feel comfortable referring people from the Chambers to which I belong.  We have common ground.

I was a Girl Scout-a First Class one-so I know the work that goes into that.   When I know a woman has been a First Class Scout too-I know somehting about her--more than we share the same gender box.  But I know that when I see an Eagle Scout too.

Are we past the time when assumptions will be made about who we support?  Are all women suppose to support all women no matter their knowledge of them?  Or have we evoled to the point of recognizing that good people are in both sexes and that we can, as indiviudals make up our mind as to who to align ourselves with.

I am going to watch this trend or non-trend.  I would love your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A little news:

Local HR Expert named to Board of Human Capital Media Group
ODESSA, FL, MARCH 22, 2011 — Entrepreneur and HR expert Kelley Rexroad, SPHR,  has been appointed to the Board of the Human Capital Media Advisory Group.  This is the exclusive advisory board for Talent Management and Diversity Executive magazines.   HCM Advisory Group produces relevant, actionable business intelligence for human capital leaders. 
This recognized thought leader will be sharing her insight on strategic HR issues impacting business and the workforce today.  “It is quite an honor to be appointed to such a role.  I look forward to participating in the research being collected on key industry trends and issues, said Rexroad.  She added, “Today’s organizations are impacted by the people issues as in no other time in history. “ 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Web site look and easy access to Blog!

Several people have commented on the new web site.  I was just trying to freshen it up and make it easier for you to get to things.  The Blog is built into the Tabs and to go back to the website you just click on my face :-)

I also built into the tabs-one for the assessment. It is free and scientific.

The photograph is an original -mine! It is dawn breaking over our lake here in Odessa Florida.  It represents  that freshness we get when dawn comes.  We each have a new day to choose what it will be like.  We can work on ourselves and our business-every day.  Each decision and good choice gives us a chance at greater success. 

Thanks for your support!  And Happy St Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


SPRING AHEAD FALL BACK!! PAY RIGHT--THIS WEEKEND! Nonexempt employees working the graveyard shift when Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend work 1 hour less because the clocks are set ahead 1 hour. So, pay 7 hours on the day that DST begins. Remember: Collective Bargaining Agreements may apply!

Monday, March 7, 2011

New I-9 Manual for Employers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated version of its I-9 Handbook for Employers at the beginning of the year. The new edition provides several critical revisions to the prior version of the Handbook (also known as Form M-274). Employers can view and download the updated version at the website-which is linked!