27 Aug Working from Home versus Hiring Contract Labor During COVID-19
When COVID-19 hit the United States, many businesses, other than essential industries, had to close their doors for an indefinite time. Manufacturing and construction were two industries hit the hardest, unless some type of essential product could be manufactured that would assist others during the pandemic.
Other businesses found they could transition their workforce to work at home on employer-provided laptops with required software programs installed, including time recording trackers. A recording tracker provides information about when employees were working and when they took breaks. Most trackers also activate screenshots of the employee’s computer screen during work hours.
While the verdict is still out on whether it is financially better to keep employees working from home, employees typically prefer working from home. Remote workers do not have to deal with gossiping teammates, suffer office politics, and endure bosses who may be in a bad mood from time to time. Remote workers like the solitude and peace of the home environment.
The other side of the argument is those remote workers with children, spouses, and pets who are constantly intruding in the worker’s space can cause more stress than being at the workplace. This problem is best solved by cutting out space in the home that no one can enter during the day.
Is the spouse or the neighbors running the lawnmower or leaf blower? Plugin those stereo headphones and play environmental sounds or music that cuts out external noises.
The home office should also be a safe place for working a full day. Eliminate any obstacles on the floor so you do not trip and hurt yourself. Keep cats off your desk, particularly if drinking water, so that kitty does not knock over your water glass into the employer’s computer keyboard.
Working from Home While Employed
You are covered by workers’ compensation while working from home on behalf of your employer. You are basically covered by the same rules and regulations as if you were in your office at the workplace. You maintain set working hours and any tools you need to do your job must be provided by the employer.
If your employer requires you to have something for the office and you need it right away, you can go to the store and pick it up. That trip is covered by workers’ compensation because you are purchasing something that you need immediately which your employer requested you have. Be sure to submit the receipt of the product for reimbursement as part of the documentation.
If you were injured in an accident while going to the store or heading back home, that trip would be covered by workers’ compensation. A better idea is to find out if you can get a same-day delivery service, even if you pay extra for it. That fee would also be paid by the employer.
Hiring Contract Labor
A business decides to hire an independent contractor to do a job that no one else in the company can do. In this situation, the independent contractor can work the hours that the person wants to and is only responsible for delivering the final product to the employer/client. Arizona’s A.R.S Title 23. Labor § 23-902 provides an overview of how independent contractors are hired.
Workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors, but the agreement must state in the hiring contract how the job is to be completed. As per the above statute, the following points must be included in the contract.
- The employer does not supervise or control the contractor during the commission of the work,
- The contractor is not required to work exclusively for the employer/client,
- No licenses or business registrations are required to do the work,
- The contractor is not paid an hourly wage and only the full fee is shown, with a possible down payment amount of half the price to start the job,
- Does not provide tools to the contractor for completing the work, and
- The employer sends a copy of the contract to the insurance company to prevent any liability of mistaken employment categorization (§ 23-961(L-M)).
The remote employed worker and the independent contractor are two very distinct entities that employers will work with. If you have questions about your employment status and whether you should be covered by workers’ compensation, call us at once for a free consultation. We are here to help you. 602-346-9009.