Newswise — On March 26, 2015, Microsoft announced it will require many of its 2,000 contractors and vendors to provide their employees with 15 days of paid time off for sick days and vacation time. In the absence of a federal policy for paid sick leave, it’s remarkable that a large Fortune 500 company like Microsoft is now performing the role of setting workplace policy for other businesses. In The New York Times, Microsoft’s general counsel said employees who get these kinds of benefits are “far likelier to be happier, have higher morale and are far more likely to be productive.” The U.S. is the only advanced economy that doesn’t require paid sick leave; however, states like California and Massachusetts have recently enacted laws guaranteeing paid sick time in the upcoming months, while other companies like Aetna and Starbucks have passed their own internal policies.
Is this the wave of the future, as more and more U.S. employees become contract workers? What are the implications of larger companies pressuring smaller companies to set paid leave policies? Is this ultimately to benefit the worker?
Rebecca Cenni, Founder and CEO of Atrium Staffing in New York City, is a keen observer of the transformation taking place with regard to benefits in the U.S. workplace, especially for contract and part-time workers. The rise of these workers as a sizeable portion of the U.S. workforce raises unique questions and challenges for employers who want to obey employment laws. Cenni is an expert at the issues involved, and her firsthand perspectives are informed and fascinating. Cenni notes, for example, that all workers who work regular hours and are specifically directed by a superior must be on W-2 forms. A W-2 is an IRS form that reports an employee’s annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from his or her paycheck. The key word here is “employee,” as W-2 workers are afforded the protections of labor laws.
This expertise comes as a result of Cenni’s experiences building up Atrium. As CEO, she is well aware of the rights due to each and every worker. Atrium is focused on providing workforce management services for mid-size and Fortune 500 companies in nearly every industry. The company’s expertise includes regional Temporary and Direct Hire Staffing, national Employer of Record Payrolling, national Independent Contractor Engagement, and specialty Intern Recruiting Services. One of Atrium’s core businesses is Managed Services, a concept that entails outsourcing some of the primary functions of Human Resources—primarily staffing and payroll—while consolidating communications and invoicing.
As the U.S. employment market continues to change rapidly, a guide such as Rebecca Cenni can offer companies a clear path through the murky waters, ensuring that they are complying with government laws.