Temporary workers and contractors are not your employees, but how, when and where they work can still critically impact operations, security, safety and cost.
The genie is out of the bottle. For most employees, including 61% of temporaries, remote work ranks as highly valuable, making it an often necessary benefit to offer to attract the best talent. And while only 5% to 10% of professional and IT temporary workers worked remotely in 2019, that percentage shot up to 85% to 90% early in the pandemic before dropping to 38% to 50% in 2022. Long-term projections suggest that remote work will remain at these levels in the future for both professional and IT workers.
But permitting remote work requires consideration and planning for employees and contingent workers alike. For reasons such as data security, taxation and increased risk of misclassification, the contingent workforce should be part of your company’s remote work policies.
- Data security and privacy. Remote work can increase data security concerns, as not all workers will have secure connections at their home or remote office. To protect your intellectual property and systems, consider implementing security measures like requiring the use of VPN and multi-factor authentication. Also, those employing a multi-national workforce risk triggering a breach of one or more countries’ rules on cross-border data transfers, so companies whose work would include such data transfers would need to take that into consideration when establishing remote work policies.
- Taxation. Your temporary workers’ location could impact costs on your program by incurring additional taxes. While the staffing firm, as the employer of record, would be responsible for processing and paying appropriately, your bills could reflect higher costs than you expect.
- Misclassification. Laws regarding employee classification vary not just within the US but internationally as well. Across the European Union, for example, regulations intended to bring transparency and accountability have been proposed.
- Equal treatment rights. Where equal pay laws exist, they can apply to contingent workers working through staffing firms. For example, after 12 months working in another EU country, a temporary worker is entitled to all mandatory working conditions applicable in the host country, except for rules regarding termination of employment and occupational pension schemes. Other countries such as Japan and provinces in Canada also require foreign temporary workers to be treated equally. Staffing agencies and hirers should make sure they are aware of such rules and abide by them.
The SIA report “Employing and Hiring Remote Talent: Risks and Challenges” addresses these among a range of effects remote work arrangements can have on the ecosystem. Additional considerations it explores:
- Do you have guidelines for communication that are applied equally for remote and non-remote workers?
- In regulated sectors like finance, is there a regulatory body that needs to be notified of a remote contractor?
- Could you be compelled to cover expenses for a contractor to work remotely?
- Is there an immigration status to consider for remote contractors working on your behalf?
As we settle into a foreseeable future of remote and hybrid work, there are a few things to consider for creating a more productive and safer experience for your company, suppliers and contractors. Stay ahead of the game so you can enjoy the increased talent share and recruiting edge remote workers provide while effectively managing the risks and challenges that come with them.