Some groups are calling it systematic and deliberate wage theft, others (slightly more diplomatic) are calling it a labour friendly campaign, but there is a tidal wave of turmoil brewing in the trucking Industry of the Ports of Los Angeles.

A report entitled “The Big Rig Overhaul: Restoring Middle-Class Jobs at America’s Ports Through Labor Enforcement” is a collaboration between three organizations alleging years of what they call the “enormous scale and shocking costs of an illegal business practice used by employers..” to bring attention and demand restitution and change to the industry. The National Employment Law Project, The Los Angeles Alliance for a new Economy and the Change to Win Strategic Organizing Center allege that worker misclassification in classifying port truckers as Independent Contractors instead of Employees became the port industries business model and was in fact a “scam”.

The numbers in the report allege a 1.4 billion dollar (includes wages and lost state tax revenue) misclassification scam that involves 60% of port truck drivers. Amounting to lost wages and benefits translating to 5,072$ per driver, per month.The report was published in the hopes to leverage Congress to pass legislation including The Payroll Fraud Prevention Act, The Clean Ports Act of 2013, and the Fair Playing Field Act of 2012.

From a Contingent Workforce Management perspective, the main point of emphasis and what it may come down to in the courts to deem who (if anyone) is in fact responsible for this misclassification will rely on the Nature of the Working Relationship between the alleged Independent Contractors and the trucking companies themselves.  The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) and IRS (Internal Revenue Service) do have a different set of standards in how they define the classification of workers, but where they agree in terms of how they view this report will be that:

A) They do not differentiate between errors of omission and errors of commission. If misclassification occurred, the company will be liable, regardless of intent.

B) Determining of the amount of control a company can have in regards to the daily tasks of an independent contractor. Two instances of note in this example would fall under Exclusive Service, and Supervision. (Both are further defined below)

Supervision and Service

 

While the outcomes of this report remain unclear at the present time, there was fair warning that 2014 would be a year of heightened scrutiny at all levels regarding worker misclassification. If nothing else, the groups involved in the allegations of this report shows that those warnings are true.

 

Are you properly managing your risk? Get a free risk assessment from CWS here

 

Amidst a flurry of political and social controversy, the Olympic Games are underway, and for the international firms responsible for staffing the Sochi Games, they hope it’s all downhill from here.

Sochi’s three official staffing Suppliers: Adecco Group, Kelly Services, and Russian firm Exect Business have put three years of work into building the Contingent Workforce for the Olympic Games and the sheer numbers are staggering. The total number of temporary workers for the games may top 150,000 people, and that isn’t counting the roughly 25,000 volunteers that will be lending a hand to make sure the games run smoothly. Among those 150,000 workers 65,000 are skilled workers. These skilled workers were culled from a worldwide recruiting search, offering the opportunity for the organizing committee of the games the chance to hand pick expertise from the very best the world has to offer, as well as the chance for those skilled workers to show off their talents in front of an audience like no other. On paper it’s the perfect trade off, but somewhere along the way things went off the rails. Sochi-2014-Company-Olympics

Vancouver temporary worker Johnnie Balfour’s exposing blog posts and statements about the treatment of himself and his team at the games has been well documented. (Go here to catch up) Even an entire twitter feed, @SochiProblems emerged to document all the issues journalists and athletes alike had encountered upon first arriving in Sochi. Littering news feeds around the world with pictures of brown water and unfinished construction. While these images weren’t exactly the image that the staff and Olympic Committee wished to have us see, the big picture moment of truth for the staffing agencies of the games going forward may not be boiled down to pictures or politics. It may boil down to the larger issues of transparency and control.

For those in the business of the Contingent Workforce this is an issue of risk debated and managed daily, as the decision to either outsource or direct source (hire from within) is weighted against the factors of cost, availability of resources (skills), and time. As the world’s eyes turn to Sochi for the games, administrative/payroll miscues and a lack of communication is not the way to put our (those in the contingent workforce solutions business) best foot forward. In this case, while a pool of extremely talented and eager workers were recruited and gathered for the games, it seems as though when they got there, the communication regarding their income was (at least according to Balfour) left open to interpretation . There is nothing that will turn an IC (independent Contractor) off faster than the notion that they’re not getting paid, and in Balfour’s case, seemed to be the last straw.

As an Employer and a Business you only get one chance to make a first impression with your Contingent Workforce and Independent Contractors. Making sure your T’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted is an absolute must in an industry where word travels fast.  If your goal is to recruit and retain top talent, miscues are simply unacceptable. In the case of Balfour, the simple and affordable option of an IC Compliance and Payroll service could have been made available to figure out payment options and schedules before he even left for Sochi, and in the process, saved the staffing agencies responsible for 150,000 workers the potential firestorm of being made to look as a willing participant in the headache inducing and livelihood threatening payroll practices of the Sochi Games.

There is truly no replacement for transparency and efficiency in this business and the sheer size and publicity of this only goes to remind us that even a small administrative miscue or oversight can become a giant problem.    

If all goes according to plan when the games close on February 23rd, viewers will hopefully be inundated with images of the athletes’ fists in triumph, their tears in defeat, and memorable moments of sportsmanship and diplomacy. Not pictures of brown water, unfinished construction, and the supposed mismanagement of temporary workers. If the stumbles in the weeks leading up to the event are any indication, the staffing agencies may be the ones in the front row cheering the loudest for the athletes to steal back the spotlight.


Article_Arrest
A staffing company operator in Ontario Canada was fined almost C$1.3 million (US$1.2 million) and sentenced to four years in jail, the Canada Revenue Agency announced Tuesday. The owner of the  staffing companies did not remit proper payroll and income tax deductions to the government, according to the agency. According to court records  The Staffing Agency failed to remit approximately C$5.8 million owing to Canada Revenue Agency. The Director of the Staffing Agency will have one year to pay the fine upon release from jail, or she will serve an additional five years in jail.

A related party who owned a business that used the services of the staffing companies was also sentenced to two years in jail and fined C$397,758 (US$373,499).  As per the Canada Revenue Agency report the owner of TPM Machining Group knowingly used the services of the staffing companies to avoid remittance of payroll and income tax deductions, the agency reported.

This case highlights how client organizations need to perform a higher level of due diligence on the staffing firms they have within their supply chain to gain better visibility into the staffing firm’s ongoing compliance with payroll, employment and tax laws.  Even with a complex structure of contract and agreements in place, the CRA was able to establish that the client of the staffing companies knowingly used the services of a staffing agency to avoid remittances of payroll and income tax deductions and was therefore able to assess fines and jail time to the client’s management.

To view the original article CLICK HERE

The Globe and Mail recently published findings from Statistics Canada regarding the growth of temporary employees by industry sector. The findings were broken down by industry and showcased the growth of temporary workers from 1997 to 2012.

The breakdown is as follows:

Click here to view the original article.

CBC News recently broke the story of one of Canada’s leading telecommunication companies violating employment law by misclassifying its workers as contractors. Shaw Communications received two complaints from former workers who claim that they were mistreated by working as employees day to day but forced to be paid as independent contractors.

Watch the original segment by visiting CBC NEWS.

The breakdown:

• Rob Browbridge and Tasha Lowe claim they were underpaid during their employment
• Both workers signed contracts as independent contractors
• Both workers did not have any benefits
• Both workers were not paid overtime or vacation pay
• Both workers had to file their own taxes and did not receive T4’s
• Shaw Communications dictated their work and schedule

After filing a complaints to federal regulators, both incidents resulted in violations of the Canadian Labour Codes, the pair were deemed employees vs. independent contractors and Shaw was forced to pay back wages and overtime pay to Rob Browbridge and Tasha Lowe.

It is believed that similar cases are taking place all across Canada, in businesses of all sizes. With stricter CRA guidelines, more frequent audits, and more knowledgeable workers, it is of immense importance that organizations properly educate themselves on the risks involved with working with independent contractors. Without the proper processes and documentation in place, organizations could be liable for millions of dollars.

For information on how Contingent Workforce Solutions can help your organization mitigate the liability of contract worker misclassification please contact:

Christina Fabugais
Sales & Marketing Manager
Phone: 1-866-837-8630 Ex. 9077
Email: christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca

November 7, 2012 – Buffalo, NY – Contingent Workforce Solutions has been invited by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade & Innovation to participate in an exclusive Trade Mission in Buffalo, New York.

Exporters to Boarder States Program Trade Mission Group is made up of Executive from various Ontario high growth companies to network with business leaders in American-Canadian boarder states.

The purpose of the mission is to grow Ontario based companies business in export markets. Through this international trade mission MEDTI looks to help these growing companies navigate international trade issues through providing education and business contacts.

Organizations cannot afford to approach their contingent workforce management in an ad-hoc, as-needed manner. They must begin to manage their entire workforce, including the contract and temporary segment, efficiently. A third party can assist organizations to create an effective contingent labour management program that gives visibility into the costs, mitigates risk, and provides a record of the worker’s employment with the organization.

Aberdeen research surveyed companies and divided these organizations into best-in-class, industry average, and laggard categories. The best-in-class category consisted of organizations that were in the top 20% performers. They had 87% compliance to federal/state/regulatory labour and tax policies concerning contingent workers, 4.4 contingent worker quality ranking score, and 21% contingent worker spend savings.[1] These organizations have implemented many best practices that organizations should imitate when using a third party or managing contingent labour internally.

There are various third parties that organizations can use that provide different aspects of a successful contingent labour management program.

  • Independent Contractor Engagement Specialists (ICES) work with organizations to manage independent contractors — including high-rate, project-based SOW (Statement of Work) consultants — by acting as an Agent or Employer of Record (EOR) for IRS purposes. ICES will assess the eligibility of a potential contractor for 1099 status. If they are found ineligible, ICES will hire the worker as their own W-2 employee, allowing him/her to work for the client on subcontract. For those that are eligible, ICES will act as the “Agent of Record,” simplifying the process for their clients.[2]
  • Vendor Management Systems, or VMS, are technology solutions that provide visibility into how many contractors a company is using, for how long, and for what. These technology solutions provide visibility into the cost of the overall contingent labour program. The basic systems handle everything from requisition to off-boarding, including hiring approvals and processing time sheets and invoices.[3]
  • An MSP (Managed Service Provider) is an out­sourced service provider who is responsible for procuring and managing contingent workforce needs according to client requirements. MSPs may or may not offer a Vendor Management System (VMS) of their own but they normally combine a VMS technology offering into the programs they run for clients.[4]

All of these third parties can be used in combination or separately. Aberdeen research has found that although all types of third parties are used by best in class organizations, a VMS was the most commonly employed third party by best in class enterprises.[5] Top performing companies were 33% more likely to employ an MSP program than other companies.[6] Best in class organizations were 60% more likely to employ ICEs than other companies, and ICEs have historically shown to increase contract worker compliance by nearly 80%.[7]

For more information about how your organization can benefit from a third party, and to find out more about VMS, MSP, or ICES, Click here or contact:

Christina Fabugais
Marketing Manager
Contingent Workforce Solutions Inc.
Direct Phone:  416-642-9077
Toll Free:  1-866-837-8630 x9077
Email:  christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca

[1] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

[2] The ROI in Enterprise Contract Talent Management. The Human Capital Institute. Sept 2009

[3] Muson, Howard. Treating Contingent Workers as a Strategic Resource. The Conference Board: Trusted Insights for Business Worldwide. Sept 2010

[4] The ROI in Enterprise Contract Talent Management. The Human Capital Institute. Sept 2009

[5] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

[6] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

[7] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

Contract placements create an annuity stream that gives you a stable and consistently growing income stream.  With generally less work per placement i.e. sourcing, number of interviews, etc. you are able build a headcount of workers that pay out an hourly/monthly margin.  This is because contract placements last 3-6 months and often renew longer. During this time, when you place additional contractors on 3-6+ month assignments the margin paid out on an hourly/monthly basis grows with the headcount you have billing.  This annuity stream is in addition to your full time placements fees.  In many cases the consistent monthly income from contract margin will become the income you will count on with the full time placements becoming the “gravy” that is a nice addition to your monthly income.

The figure below depicts the placement fee amounts received in a 12 month period.



Fast Facts

  • 25% of the North American workforce is some type of contingent labour.
  • Between 1997 and 2009 contract employment increased by over 300% despite the economic downturn.
  • Only 30% of contract recruitment is client sourced

It’s time that HR became part of the overall business strategy. In 2009 an Aberdeen study found that 60% of executives believed that the current state of the economy would increase the importance their organizations placed on Human Capital Management. In a time when business results are of utmost importance, and companies are increasingly seeking efficiencies, human resources can be the difference between success and failure.

Many companies are willing to admit that their most important resource is their people, but few are willing to put this belief in practice and fully integrate their Human Resources strategy with their business strategy. Aberdeen found that 54% of Best-in-Class organizations had aligned employee goals and development activities with business priorities in 2008. This amounts to only a small percentage of all companies; however it displays that aligning the human element with business goals results in overall success.

The good news is that this is changing. The 2009 Aberdeen HR Executive’s agenda report found that 75% of executives surveyed indicated that HR had become more or significantly more strategic over a two year period.

By the same study, Aberdeen found that that economic instability and uncertainty posed by the economic downturn were their biggest pressures for best in class HR executives. In order to overcome these pressures, HR executives need to align their Human capital management priorities with the overall business goals. The study found that Best-in-Class organizations implemented programs that aligned the workforce with organizational objectives. In order to do this, they must collaborate with business managers to understand business success criteria.

HR needs to integrate with business managers in order to determine the best HR strategy in order to have the necessary resources for strong business results. This includes full time hires, and contract and temporary workers. Contract and temporary workers are often highly skilled and can be useful to an organization when specific skills are needed for a particular project, but these skills will not be needed in the long term. During difficult economic times, this is one of the most effective ways for an organization to gain the necessary skills without compromising costs.

HR is one of the most important departments in the organization, because HR provides the human capital that the business rests upon. HR needs to be integrated into the overall business strategy so that businesses can acquire the full time and contract staff that they need.

For more information about how to implement an MSP as part of your Human Resources strategy, click here or contact:

Christina Fabugais
Marketing Manager
Contingent Workforce Solutions Inc.
Direct Phone:  416-642-9077
Toll Free:  1-866-837-8630 x9077
Email:  christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca

Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS) is pleased to announce that it has been chosen as a GTA finalist in the Deloitte’s 50 Best Managed Companies. We are honoured to receive this recognition only three years after our company’s inception, and we are grateful to be listed among the other successful finalists.

Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies continues to be the market of excellence for Canadian-owned and managed companies.  Now in its 19th year, this is one of Canada’s premier business awards. It celebrates companies that demonstrate vision, passion and achievement in their daily business[1].

CWS is thankful to all of its employees for working hard over the past three years and bringing CWS the success it has achieved. Congratulations to the other Deloitte 50 Best Managed Companies finalists and good luck with phase two of the award selection process.

[1] Deloitte 50 Best Managed Companies. http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_CA/ca/insights/multimedia/podcasts/e086ac37004b6210VgnVCM200000bb42f00aRCRD.htm