Hiring Employees and Independent Contractors

Hiring employees can be a daunting task for a small business owner. Especially for a startup that is hiring their first employee. The decision to take on employees is a daunting task and should not be taken on lightly. Whether to hire an employee or a 1099 independent contractor depends upon a number of factors including your business, the industry you operate in, and the work that is needed to be done. There are very important legal distinctions between the two types of hires and it is important to get this decision right. Here are several things to consider the next time your business is thinking about hiring.

Hiring an Independent Contractor Electrician.

What are the Differences Between an Employee and a Contractor?

The major difference between an employee and an independent contractor is the level of control the employer has over the worker. When a business hires an employee, they have total control over how, when, and where the employee performs their job. With an independent contractor the employer only has control over the finished product the contractor has been hired to complete. When a business hires a contractor, the business is paying the contractor to perform a specific service for the business on their own time using their own resources. In addition to being on their own time, an independent contractor is responsible for declaring taxes on their own personal income.

When it comes to hiring an employee, the business is responsible for taking care of an enormous amount of paper work. This is especially difficult for startups who are hiring their first employee. Once the first employee is hired, it becomes more easy to deal with the paperwork as you hire more employees.

Employees are a little bit of a safer way to protect your business because when it comes to contractors each state has their own rules and regulations when it comes to interacting with those types of employees. In some states, some types of contractors are considered employees and must be covered by workers compensation insurance. There are other states where this is not the case. Also, if a business is caught interacting with a contractor in a fashion that is meant for an employee there may be fines and other penalties for the business.

Construction business discussing work and hiring an independent contractor.

When Should a Business Consider Hiring an Employee

A business should consider hiring a person as an employee when the work really required the supervision of someone within the business. Hiring an employee is also best when you as the business owner want to control the work hours, the tools used, and the way those tools are used. Employees are better when the work that is required is long-term or ongoing and when the work is essential to your business.

When Should a Business Consider Hiring a Contractor

A business should consider hiring a contractor when the work is not central to the business, the work can be done by a professional who does not need much supervision, or when the work is a short-term project.

Many businesses decide on hiring contractors instead of employees. Do Not Hire Employees Until Your Making a Profit

Employees are much more of a long term decision. If your business depends upon the income of one or a few companies, the loss of one of those customers can have a drastic impact on your business. If one of these customers leave your business shortly after you have added staff, it can be a substantial problem for your business. If your business is not stable and making a sustained profit, it may be a better time to partner with contractors until the business is more stable.

Communicate with all Contractors

The legal definition with a contractor is that the business gives them a task to accomplish, but the business cannot dictate how the employee goes about getting the task accomplished. This does not mean the business should have little to no contact with the contractor. It is important to communicate with the contractor about the actions of the business and the employees they may come in contact with. If the quality of their work is exceptional or not up to par, communicate the thoughts to them on a regular basis. No matter what type of contractor you are using, open lines of communication will make all work much more smooth.

Classify Employees or Contractors Properly

Each state has their own rules and regulations determining how you should classify contractors and employees. Some states have rules where some contractors are considered employees for taxes purposes and within the workers compensation system. It is important to partner with an experienced independent agent and to investigate with the proper governing body yourself. Your independent agent can advise about the proper classification for each individual type of employee, but they can only act upon the information you give them. No one knows your business as well as you do and no one is responsible for the actions of a business more than the owner of that business. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to hiring contractors and employees.

Tips for Home Health Care Agencies

Owning and operating a home health care agency can be complex. The clients you deal with can have a wide range of health issues you and your employees need to be familiar with. Some clients may be small and frail, but very mobile; while another client may be large and immobile. Some may have mental problems like dementia while other clients may have mobility issues like the aftermath of a stroke. With each of these clients comes a unique set of risks. These risks all determine what type of insurance you need and how much that insurance will cost. Here are three tips to help you the next time you shop for home health care workers comp.

Make sure you are classified accurately

For purposes of workers compensation insurance, governance of these programs is left up to the individual states. Most of the states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to determine a classification code for each business and the rate of premium for each code. There are currently more than 700 different codes a business can be classified as. Each industry has multiple classification codes depending upon the scope and scale of the business. Depending upon the actions of your employees while on the job, the amount of premium is reflected through your businesses classification code.

Hire carefully

Unfortunately the home health care industry tends to have a high turnover rate. The two main reasons for this is the stress of the job and the amount of pay for most employees. In order to turn a profit, there is only so much a business owner can pay their employees in order to stay profitable. Because of this fact, it is difficult to keep the best employees around. This is a reason to hire carefully and for the long-term. Sometimes the candidate with the best resume is not as good for your business as the candidate who is the best fit for your business. Finding the best fit is different from business to business based upon the scope of the business and the market that business operates in. Taking additional time to hire the right person will almost always pay off in the long run.

Implement safety protocols

Safety programs are immensely important in the home health care industry. This industry has both a high volume of insurance claims and the claims can be high in severity. The reason for this is because many employees drive their own vehicle to a remote location and many drive to multiple locations throughout the day. The time that your employees drives from location to location makes the liability for accidents that occur the responsibility of the business. This is regardless of whether the employee is on the clock or not. It is important to consider implementing a driver safety program for your home healthcare business.

It is also important to implement safety programs  for the time your employees are in the homes with clients. Depending upon the limitations of each client, your employees should be prepared to keep themselves safe first and keep the client safe second. Let them know that they cannot help the client if they do not take care of themselves first. Because of the remote nature of this work, it is important to have weekly face to face meetings with all employees and to discuss safety protocols with them.

 

14.5% Workers Comp Rate Hikes in Florida! What do I do now?

Get the best answers to your Florida Workers Compensation Insurance questions  at MyInsuranceQuestion.comYou do what you can to do your business every day and create opportunities for yourself, your employees and your customers. Rates of everything is rising, property cost, materials, shipping, employee wages. The state of Florida has now said its time for workers’ comp insurance to do the same. The rate increase is to be 14.5%! Articles can go into much more detail but ultimately medical costs, legal costs and claims expenses rise over time and Florida workers compensation rates are rising to catch up for the natural changes that have taken place and certain court rulings have made precedence that support the increased cost. There are fair arguments for and against this change but at this point we work with what we have, so as a business owner what can you do?

The state of Florida is a rate mandated state for Workers Compensation which means the starting rate is the same for everyone based on their classification code, so every carrier should be offering the same rate. There are some exceptions that can be helpful for you to keep in mind. Here are a few things that can help benefit you in combating this increase with a more competitive option:

 

There are some exceptions:  Some of our carriers have programs for particular industries that allow for discounted rates(5% below state set rates) one in particular caters to Retail stores, Restaurants and Professional Offices(Law firms, Accountants, Doctors offices, etc.)

Check with appropriate discount programs:  The Florida workers compensation system has discount options available if you meet the guidelines and have these policies in place for your business. They do have an application for each and require certain protocols in place but these can save 5% on your Florida workers compensation rate.

  • Drug Free Workplace Credit
  • Safety Credit

Divident Plans:  Some of our carriers offer dividend plans in Florida that reward businesses that control their claims. One in particular offers a 5% dividend for businesses paying 5-10k in premium and keeping a loss ratio under 5% and for accounts over 30k in annual premium they can qualify for a 20% dividend if they have a loss ratio under 20%. Like anything they do have some basic eligibility criteria but this is a huge way to reward safe business operations and lower your overhead against your competition.

Review loss control Measures: We do understand accidents do happen, however most accidents with better preparation can be prevented. A few areas to focus on:

Hiring Practices: Hiring the right employees that are experienced in the field and vested in your business are your lifeblood. Don’t put that in the hands of just anyone.

Safety Controls: Start with OSHA basics and if you have a unique business you might need more. Keeping your employees safe and preventing workers comp claims is the best way to save money on your workers comp.

Document everything: If you have safety meetings, a safety policy, drug free workplace, make sure this is all in writing and in your employee handbook. Make sure sign offs are in place so your employees are aware of these policies. This can be a great tool to prevent claims and keep a culture of safety that you take seriously in your business.

Manage your workers compensation claims:  As you develop an Experience MOD over time for your Florida workers compensation claims history, your premium can go up or down based on this experience. This means your premium is directly affected by claims you had 2-5 years ago. Settling those claims and learning from them can help you combat the rising workers comp costs. This process takes time but you will thank yourself in the next couple years as that MOD drops lower.

Buy in to avoid the increase:  If you have not placed your workers comp coverage for your business yet and are in the market, get this coverage before December 1, 2016. This is when the rate change takes place. You will still have to face the rates next year but at least this is one year you are paying 14.5% less on this policy.

Put some skin in the game:  Especially if you are paying premiums in excess of $20,000 annual, Deductible plans as well as coinsurance plans can allow you to put some skin in the game and take on a little risk of your own. Some start as small as $500-$1000 deductibles but go up and the savings increases with that. It might not make a lot of sense for the smaller premium amounts but this is a good tool to help save money without putting too much of your business at risk. Pick a deductible that saves you money and you feel comfortable with.

Alternate payment options:  Plans like Pay-As-You-GO can be helpful tools which allow you to pay your premium when you run your payroll. This won’t change the price but for companies that have a tough time with premiums in the slow season but still have a year round payroll, this can be a great solution.

In times like these were pricing can have such a direct impact on your business and its livelihood, Rate increases are inevitable, however taking these steps above if you are not already, could show savings of up to 25% below market for some clients but 5-10% is very obtainable for most clients. The increase in Florida is a tough one to swallow, however taking these actions could allow you to offset these increases. Speak with one of our Professional Insurance agents to learn how you can implement and benefit from some of these tools.