Friday, June 06, 2008

Can You Hire Just Anyone To Clean?

Orlando, Florida --
Question: I do the books for a small design firm and am looking to accommodate one of our hourly, full-time customer-service representatives. She wants to earn some extra money by coming in on alternate weekends to clean up the office, and she is willing to do this as an independent contractor. This could be one of those "win-win" situations, but I'm afraid we could get in trouble. The amount we can afford for this cleaning service is less than what she would make if we had to pay her overtime rate as a service rep. In other words, we can afford her if she's treated as an independent contractor but not as a full-time employee entitled to overtime. Can we do this under wage-and-hour laws?

Answer: You would have a problem trying to impose this arrangement, but because the employee suggested it, and it's mutually agreeable, there are things you can both do that should make this arrangement acceptable.

You will need a signed agreement that makes it crystal clear the cleaning work is being done on a contract basis totally separate from her employment. The contractual arrangement should include her being paid separately for the cleaning work -- and on a per-job rather than an hourly basis. He also suggests that she be contractually required to provide her own equipment and supplies, and to make her own decisions on how the cleaning projects are controlled and accomplished. She might even consider forming a corporation, so that you could pay that legal entity instead of her.

In addition, you'll need to ensure that your employee carries her own workers' compensation, general liability and bonding. You'll need these three things because your company will be responsible if an accident, injury or theft occurs.

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