2013 / 05

Opportunities and Challenges – IT and Engineering Staffing

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 28, 2013

0 Human Resources Staffing, IT Staffing Engineering Jobs, Inavero, IT Jobs, IT Professionals, IT Staffing, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, TechServe Alliance

With the demand for skilled IT and engineering professionals showing no signs of slowing down, a new study from TechServe Alliance and global survey firm Inavero is poised to help IT and engineering staffing firms, clients, and consultants understand and address the myriad of opportunities and challenges faced by all stakeholders in the talent engagement process. The recently released IT & Engineering Staffing Firms, Clients & Candidates: A 360-Degree Perspective examines the flexible IT and engineering workforce from three perspectives—1) clients, 2) candidates, and 3) staffing companies. The findings were based on 700 survey participants. Here’s a snapshot of the findings: Clients look for value. The study showed that clients look to their staffing providers to help them 1) reduce risk, 2) increase flexibility, and 3) supplement their core competencies with specialized skills. While the right skill match is the number one factor in placement success, clients also ranked their staffing providers knowledge of their industry as second most important to ensuring a successful placement. Staffing companies need to be experts at understanding a client's business. Clients #1 Pain Point – ONBOARDING. The number one pain point for companies working with IT and engineering consultants is the onboarding process—the time it takes to get new talent up to speed. Staffing firms need to continue working with the client and the candidate after the hiring decision is made to ensure an effective onboarding process. Top Talent Is Snatched Up Quickly. One of the studies findings is that both the staffing firm and their clients must move quickly if they want to hire top IT and engineering talent. Eighty-four percent of the IT and engineering professionals surveyed found their current job in less than three months, and nearly one-third (32 percent) found their most recent position in less than two weeks. IT and engineering professionals affirmed their preference to work flexibly. They value the opportunity they receive to gain expertise across multiple platforms and industries through staffing firm engagements. For a free copy of the executive summary of the TechServe/Inavero study, visit http://www.techservealliance.org/research/360-degree-study.cfm### To request specialized IT or Engineering talent from the PACE Staffing Network, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

Summer Hiring: Are You Ready for a Fun But Unpredictable Staffing Season?

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 28, 2013

0 Human Resources Staffing staffing resources in seattle, staffing resources in seattle wa, staffing resources seattle, staffing resources seattle wa, summer hiring trends seattle, summer hiring trends seattle wa

Summer is upon us. And if you haven’t started thinking about what this season may mean for your staffing needs, now’s the time. If your workforce is like most, you’ll need to prepare for some of these contingencies and events:

1. Academic cycles. The ebb and flow of the calendar year may not mean much to employees above a certain age, but for students, the demands of the school year come first. When your summer help said good bye in the fall, some of them planned to return the following year, and some of them didn’t. Most of them were probably unable to make a commitment at that point. So you may see them again, but you may also need to hire and train a completely new staff. The experts at Pace can help with this process.

2. Vacation planning. Summer is vacation season, so if you provide your employees with two weeks per year to hit the road, chances are several of them will want to leave during June and July. Hopefully these absences won’t overlap in a way that slows your productivity, but if this happens, you may need temps and contingent workers to fill in. Contact our office for details about our fast and accurate short-term hiring strategy.

3. Over and under-staffing. The summer can have an impact on any business model, even those that don’t seem cyclical. Some companies slow down during the season, and some experience a maddening rush. And both over and under-staffing can be very expensive for business owners. Make sure you don’t have extra hands sitting idle in your workplace or overstressed employees burning out and making mistakes.

4. Illnesses. Summer is an outdoor season, and with active lifestyles come everything from bad sunburns to waterskiing injuries to post-Memorial Day hangovers. Make sure a rash of unfortunate incidents won’t leave you and your customers high and dry.

Whether you need last minute fill-ins when your team comes down with a "summer bug" or if you'd like to take a proactive approach to planning for upcoming employee vacation time or other seasonal demands, PACE Staffing can help. Contact the Seattle staffing experts today!

Avoid These Financial Resume Mistakes

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 21, 2013

0 Finance/Accounting Staffing Avoid These Financial Resume Mistakes, Avoid These Resume Blunders, financial jobs seattle, Financial Resume Mistakes, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle

Mistakes like the ones listed below can spell trouble for any resume, regardless of your industry or the specific position you’re looking for. But in the financial world, these are especially common and can cause disproportionate damage to your candidacy.  Before you attach your resume to your introductory message and click send, make sure you aren’t guilty of any of these blunders.

1. No reference to your target company’s primary product or financial instrument

If you’re looking for a position in financial advisory services, your employers will want assurance that you understand how their specific market works. Whether they deal in futures, equity funds, securities or ETFs, your record will need to show some experience in this core area. If you don’t have this experience, you’ll have to emphasize your other credentials. But if you do, make sure this information comes through clearly.

2. Emphasizing “impressive” credentials over relevant ones

If you need to organize your work history section according to relevance rather than chronology, that’s fine. If you decide to stick with a chronological layout, that’s fine too. But remove irrelevant positions from the line up if they stand in your way or confuse the issue. This will clear away the clutter and allow the important parts of your background to shine.

3. Excessive or inappropriate use of buzzwords and jargon

The financial field is loaded with insider terminology and acronyms, which are perfectly acceptable when they’re necessary. But unfortunately, this field is also crowded with buzzwords, empty terms, and business-sounding nonsense. And this latter category can spell death for a resume, especially at the entry level. Get to the point, be clear, and if you find yourself using empty self-descriptive terms like “change-driver” or “success-driven”, stop and rethink. Be specific. Say things about yourself that don’t also apply to everyone else in the world.

4. Any attempt at spin, smoke throwing, or exaggerations

Any attempts to hide or cover up previous job losses by manipulating employment dates are a bad move. So are exaggerations, especially those referencing the number of people you managed, the revenue your brought in for previous employers, or the projects that you may or may not have completed single-handedly.  Experienced employers can factor your age and other telling details into a realistic assessment of what you’ve actually done. Stick to the facts and you’ll be fine.

5. Sloppy or weak command of the language

Communication skills are vital in the finance industry, so an articulate resume with smooth transitions from one thought and point to the next will earn respect. Choppy, confused statements and clumsy phrasing will do the opposite.

For more specific guidance and editing help with your financial services or accounting resume, reach out to the Seattle staffing and job search experts at Pace.

Independent Contractor, W2 Employee, can you afford to blur the difference?

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 16, 2013

0 Human Resources Staffing 1099 workforce, Employer of Record, Employer of Record Service, Independent Contract, Kyle Fitzgerald, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, W2 Employee, W2 Workforce, Workers Compensation

The world of work is changing rapidly, creating new ways of working, new ways for employers to get work done. For both companies and employees, the need to have quick and easy access to talent and work, has created a new way of working outside the traditional employee-to-employer relationship.  Independent contractors, often called 1099’s, are people who work assignment to assignment, project to project. Currently, this workforce is estimated to be 16 million folks, and by 2015 is targeted to be 21 million. Unfortunately, the legal and financial ramifications of this growing new workforce have not escaped the attention of taxing agencies who want to protect the revenues generated from a W2 employee base. W2 employees have their taxes withheld at each paycheck and their employer pays most, if not all, payroll taxes on their behalf. The IRS and multiple state taxing agencies are now challenging the validity of the “independent contractor” status, ensuring that employers are not using a worker’s preference to work independently as a way to avoid otherwise mandated tax calculations, payments, and reports. When employers organize work in ways that blur the distinctions between their W2 and 1099 workers, they are often doing so without being fully aware of the risks of creating a basis for a misclassification audit, which can be costly for both employers and 1099s. We have prepared the following Q and A to outline the issues employers are likely to face when defending the classification status of their 1099 workers. Make no mistake, if you are a large or significant user of the 1099 worker model, there is likely a state or federal taxing agency who either has you and/or one of your 1099 workers on their radar as we speak. Why independent/1099 workers? The independent/1099 worker provides employers with all the traditional benefits of flexibility. They are paid only for hours actually worked or in some cases results produced. Savvy independent contractors price their services at a level to appropriately cover the costs of taxes and benefits, so the per-hour rate is often considerably higher than applied to their W2 employee counterparts.  Employers are willing to pay the higher rates preferring a process where there is little to no paperwork for them, no hidden costs, and no complicated benefit packages to administrate. Convenience aside, the most frequently stated reason why companies hire independent contractors is that it has become a workforce made up of highly talented and sought after technical and managerial professionals—many calling themselves consultants. Most 1099 workers have not only fully mastered their craft, but because of their exposure to a wide range of project and organizational challenges, have created profiles with the skills, expertise, and talents that are highly valuable to most employers. Why do workers choose to work as “independent contractors”?   The popularity of independent contractor status within the employee community is also growing exponentially. At some points in their career, workers like the exposure they get to a wide range of technical or professional challenges, plus the flexibility that comes from being able to work when they want to. For many professionals, the higher per-hour pay they can earn as a “consultant,” in addition to the deductions they can take on their individual tax return for certain business expenses not normally deductible to a W2 employee, creates a level of financial security they would not be able to obtain working as a W2 employee. What is the difference between an independent contractor and a regular W2 employee? Theoretically, the two types of workers should be noticeably different in terms of when and how work is performed, how it is financially transacted (by invoice or paycheck), and the length and scope of the working relationship between worker and employer/client. In the real world, however, the differences between the two types of workers are not always that easy to discern and often comes down to a determination of whether or not the independent worker has legally created their independent contractor status (business license, tax id numbers, professional liability insurances, etc.). Given this breakdown between theoretical intent and pragmatic execution, the intended distinction between the truly independent and the truly W2 worker populations has been blurred, creating real consequences for worker misclassifications at an alarming rate. If I classify a worker as an “independent contractor” do I avoid having to pay all payroll taxes? Not really.  A nuance and little known aspect of Washington State law is that employers who use Independent Contractors to perform personal work are required to pay the Workers Compensation insurance and the state’s SUTA tax on hours and dollars paid to these 1099 workers. Only if a 1099 contractor is a fully licensed and incorporated business entity (an LLC for example), paying the required business revenue taxes, can these costs be avoided. Bottom line, classifying an individual worker as a 1099 in the State of Washington does not automatically bypass the employer’s responsibility to report hours of work for workers compensation insurance or earnings that are used to calculate and pay Washington State’s SUTA tax. There is more involved before those taxes can be fully avoided. Why do we need to classify workers correctly?      The issue at stake revolves around an employer’s obligation to calculate and pay taxes for W2 employees that they do not have for independent contractors. For their 1099 workforce, employers pay an invoice and there is no withholding for federal or state income taxes, calculation and payment of social security, Medicare or unemployment taxes. If a worker is originally classified as a 1099, but under audit turns out to be an employee, the employer is often subject to back taxes, fines, and penalties. The liabilities associated with a misclassification audit are both unforeseen and expensive.  Since September 2011, the IRS has collected 9.5 million dollars in back taxes, penalties, and fines from employers who have misclassified more than 11,400 workers. How do you “test” if a worker is a W2 or an independent contractor?      One of the common misperceptions with 1099 workers comes from employers who believe that if their “contractor” is legal, (i.e. they have the proper business licenses, UBI (tax ID) numbers, insurances, etc.) and a contract between themselves and their contractor that labels them “independent”, they meet all aspects of the 1099 test. Most taxing agencies, on the other hand, operate from the belief that the “legality” of the claim of independent contractor status lies with the nature of the work to be performed and the degree of control the employer has over how and when it is performed—not the legitimacy of the contractor’s right to work as an independent contractor.    There are a number of tests that are administered by different state and federal taxing agencies to determine if a worker is really an independent contractor or a W2 employee. Unfortunately, not all of these tests are fully compatible, nor is case law clear on how any test can be applied, making the whole landscape of proper classification a slippery slope. In the end, most of the classification tests come down to:

  • The degree of control the company has over the worker’s behavior. The more control an employer has over where, when, and how work is performed, the less likely the worker can be considered “independent.” Employers who place their independent contractors on work teams with required hours of work, mandatory attendance at meetings, and required collaborations around work products, often do so at the risk of having that independent contractor be re- classified as a W2 employee.
  • The degree of control over a worker's financial opportunity. The more control an employer has over a worker’s source of income, the less likely that worker will be found to be “independent.” An agreement to pay a fixed cost per week, for example, can be just as suspect as an agreement to pay an hourly rate if the agreement includes a provision to work 40 hours/week—both tie a worker to a single source of income for extended periods. Other considerations related to “financial control” include payments or reimbursements for business expenses, equipment or tools. The more these sources of income are directed and controlled by the company/client, the less independent a worker will appear.
  • The type of relationship (exclusivity or duration) that is formed between worker and company. Case law around the permanency of a relationship suggests that work assignments intended to last six months or longer make the independent status more suspect than shorter term work arrangements. A related factor is whether or not the worker is free to pursue other business opportunities during the term of their agreement. Companies who regularly entertain independent contractors who work a regular 40 hour work week, and for years at a time, are clearly stretching the definitions of “independent.”
What if I misclassify?       The first thing for you to know is that you’re not alone. The IRS estimates that businesses misclassify workers as 1099’s anywhere from 10-60% of the time. The bad news is that if a misclassification is uncovered under audit, the outcome can be serious—back taxes, fines, and penalties in addition to costly law suits stemming from unprotected workplace accidents or injuries. Why is the misclassification issue such a hot topic right now?      With state and federal government budgets fighting the pinch of reduced revenues, they have become increasingly aggressive about collecting monies they believe are owed to their agencies. When we first started writing about the misclassification issue two years ago, we were only concerned about federal agency (D of L, or IRS) audits. Today multiple state agencies have gotten involved because depending on how a worker is classified, this could impact who pays the workers compensation insurance, state unemployment and revenue taxes in the city of Seattle. For example, access to mandated Seattle Sick and Safe benefits is targeted to put increasing pressure on employers to clarify who is entitled to this benefit and who is not, and to defend that claim in a lower court test. The federal government has set goals for the number of employers they will audit, and have set aside significant budget dollars to resource these audits. Most alarming is that federal, state, and local governments have formal agreements to work together when cases of misclassification are uncovered—multiplying the financial ramifications that employers are likely to face under audit. What are some “red flags” that might trigger a misclassification audit—what should we avoid?   Here are some simple rules of thumb:
  • Overlapping a W2 and 1099 status for the same employee in the same report year can be an audit trigger. Avoid firing a W2 worker and bringing them back a week later as a 1099.
  • There is a form, IRS SS-8’s, which can be used to request government determination of a classification status. Keep the number of these forms you file or your 1099’s file on your behalf to a minimum.
  • 70% of misclassification audits get triggered by independent contractors filing for benefits routinely available to W2 workers, (i.e. workplace injury claims, unemployment claims). Make sure your workplace policies and practices avoid references to these benefits.    
What happens if an independent contractor files for unemployment or is involved in a workplace accident? One of the most common ways regulatory agencies become aware of misclassifications has come out of the increased number of unemployment and worker’s compensation claims that are being filed by workers formerly considered independent.  Unemployment officials have not only been granting 1099 workers benefits—implying they’re an  employee, not independent status—but have alerted other agencies as to the possible misclassification of other “similarly situated” workers, turning a claim for unemployment into a much larger misclassification audit. Another serious source of liability can occur if a workplace accident occurs involving a 1099 worker who is not covered under the employer’s Workers Compensation policies. Lacking coverage, the employer is not protected from the limited liability provisions of workers compensation laws, and can find themselves sued for double, if not triple personal injury damages. What can companies do to protect themselves from misclassification issues? The best answer is the simplest—make sure your independent contractors are really independent contractors, working in ways that would normally apply to someone or a company who works independently—free of your control. If that level of independence isn’t possible, as it often isn’t, your choices are 1) to end your relationship with the 1099, or 2) convert the 1099 to your W2 workforce. A third option, new to the misclassification issue, is to insert an Employer of Record Service provider who can turn your 1099 workforce into a low cost W2 workforce. This option is discussed below. If your analysis reveals that there is room for a genuine independent contractor to work in your organization, you need to:
  1. Develop and execute an independent contractor agreement that, among other things, acknowledges the intent of the relationship and waives any rights to company sponsored health or retirement benefits. We recommend including in your agreement a provision that the independent contractor recognizes you as their common law employer with respect to protections under workers compensation laws in the event of workplace accidents. We also recommend you include an indemnification clause that excuses you from any liabilities associated with an independent contractor’s failure to pay their own mandated self-employment or W2 taxes.
  2. Create specific policies and procedures for working with true independent contractors. Train your front line managers on the requirements for “independence” to ensure the lines of differentiation stay clean.
  3. Review benefit plans to ensure a clear definition of plan participants, specifically excluding the employees of third party employers and independent contractors.
  4. Conduct internal audits of your current 1099 workforce, ensuring all contracts are up to date, and that your company is paying the required taxes on those who are providing personal services.
What is an Employer of Record Service?  How can it help with misclassification issues?  Because the issues surrounding employee classifications are not white/black and courts are inconsistent in their rulings on the cases they have heard, one of the ways to avoid any risk of a misclassification audit is to create policies that prohibit the use of personal service 1099’s in your organization, while offering an alternative method for providing quick and easy access to high impact talent. Employer of Record Services do that by converting a 1099 workforce into a W2 workforce at a fraction of the costs associated with most employers W2’s. The Employer of Record Service provider simply handles paperwork, ensures worker compliance, arranges for weekly pay, and oversees the filing of all government required paperwork. As a benefit for the former 1099 worker, the Employer of Record Service provides full administrative and HR support, including a facilitation of their access to the benefit entitlements of W2 workers. The bill rate or “take home pay” either goes up or remains the same, but their financial benefits are substantially increased. Employer of Record Service providers typically will supply electronic paperwork to onboard or off-board workers quickly, preserving the benefits of immediacy and flexibility, while eliminating the risks of liabilities down the road. The IRS is happy with this solution as are all local taxing agencies. Your company is no longer on the target list for misclassification audits. The PACE Staffing Network now offers a full range of menu driven Employer of Record Services that can be used to turn a potentially dangerous 1099 workforce into a “legally compliant”  W2 workforce. We handle all aspects of the “change process” by working closely with your team to explain the financial benefits to your 1099s for becoming W2s, oftentimes facilitating their own ability to move between assignments with different companies. For a discussion about how your company currently uses 1099 contractors and the options you have to mitigate the risk of misclassification, contact our Employer of Record Specialist, Kyle Fitzgerald at kylef@pacestaffing.com.

The Affordable Care Act and Your Flexible Workforce

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 15, 2013

0 Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Human Resources Staffing, Staffing News ACA regulations, Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Health Insurance, Obamacare, PPACA, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, staffing, Temporary Staffing And The Affordable Care Act, Temporary Staffing In Seattle

While we have always known that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka: PPACA, ACA, AHA, Obamacare) would impact the temporary staffing industry and its customers, the regulatory information that has been surfacing over the last several months is starting to reveal the impact of some of the details embedded in the law. We are finding both good and bad news in the newly published regulations—new requirements that will increase the costs of temporary and contract workers; nuances in those requirements that will make flexible workforce strategies an even more attractive model for driving down operating costs. While the law is still very confusing, the reality is that most of the regulations that will be written, have been written to the point where more and more cost conscious employers are starting to re-think how they get work done—what types of employees to put to work when, where,  and how. The following information is being provided to PACE customers as a way to lay out the facts of the ACA and its regs, prepare you for what lies ahead, and offer some ideas for not only staying compliant, but mitigating some of the cost increases we are all anticipating. Our comments will focus primarily on the impact of the ACA on our client's non-W2 workforce, which includes not only your temporary and contract workers but any workers performing work on your behalf through the services of a third party employer. ACA Overview Under the ACA, all “large” employers are required to do three things to stay in compliance with the law as of January 1st, 2014.

  1. Offer “minimum acceptable” healthcare insurance to 95% of their eligible fulltime employees (leaving a 5% margin of error).
  2. Ensure that the cost of the plan they offer is “affordable” (i.e. will not require any employee to pay more than 9.5% of their annual pay towards the costs of an individual plan), and
  3. Ensure that the plans(s) offered and the employer’s contribution to these plans is not set up to favorably treat highly compensated employees.
Large employers will be required to pay the costs for meeting these three requirements (what is often called the “play” option) or face substantial penalties for non-compliance (what is often called the “pay” option). The definition of a “large” employer applies to any employer with fifty or more fulltime employees. A fulltime employee is someone working 30 hours a week or 1560 hours per year. The Bad News for Staffing Companies and Their Customers Some clients have asked “does PACE have to be compliant with the law?” The answer is a resounding yes. And for PACE, like most staffing providers, our bad news is that the types of healthcare benefit packages typically available to the staffing industry will no longer meet the new federal standards for “minimum essential coverage.” Most staffing companies are making decisions now to either “play” (pay the additional costs associated with compliant coverage), or “pay” (pay the penalties for non-compliance, i.e. $2000/year per uncovered employee). Both options mean that as of January 1st, 2014, the direct costs associated with using third party staffing services will increase. We are anticipating that the costs to become fully compliant with the law will require most staffing companies to ask for a 2-4% increase in client bill rates, just to break even; anywhere from $.16 to $.35 cents per hour. Cost increases for all types of staffing - core and non-core—represent the bad news that is part of the ACA and will impact all "large" employers on or about January 1, 2014. Some Good News for Users of Staffing Services—the Variable Worker and Look Backs! All of the news embedded in the ACA is not bad! While an employer’s requirement to provide coverage applies to all full-time employees (individuals who work 30 hours a week, 1560 hours a year), there are special rules that apply specifically to the types of “variable” workers who work for temporary and contract staffing companies. We believe these rules will create new opportunities for cost savings for PACE customers. As the ACA regulations have rolled out, we now know an employer can stay in compliance with the law and still delay offering the mandated benefit packages to some employees who can be legitimately classified as a "variable" worker. A variable worker is someone working in a job that is subject to change, or with an uncertain duration or end date—a condition that is pretty much a given in most temporary or contract staffing environments. The period of time between when the variable worker starts work and the date when they are evaluated for benefit eligibility is called the “look back period” , and can be 3, 6, or 12 months—each employer gets to decide. Staffing companies who go through the administrative process to confirm their workers are  “variable"  and therefore subject to the “look back” provisions in the law, will be able to generate significant cost savings for their customers. While most of our client’s W2 employees will not qualify for variable worker status, and must, therefore, be offered the mandated benefits within an administrative period that cannot exceed three months, most temporary or contract workers will be considered  "variable" and not eligible for insurance coverage until they have reached the required 1560 hours (9 months or more). This variable worker “look back” provision in the ACA creates considerable opportunity for companies like PACE to offer our clients “variable” workers at significantly less cost than would be required for the client to hire an employee directly. The differentials in the direct costs of these two types of employees will be dramatic—creating compelling reasons to rethink their use of third party employers in the early stages of a new hire. The Impact of New Anti-Discriminatory Regulations on Our Clients Benefit Costs One of the more significant impacts of the ACA, not often discussed, are provisions in the law that tighten up opportunities to treat different types of employees differently.  Consultants to our industry are advising us that the anti-discrimination components of the ACA will obsolete any plan that differentiates coverage or costs in favor of highly compensated employees. For the staffing industry, this means that whatever benefit programs offered to our temporary employees needs to be offered to our regular employees. For our customers this means that whatever healthcare benefit package offered to their highest paid employees must be offered to their lowest paid employees. To be compliant with the “affordability provision” of the ACA, no benefit eligible employee in your workforce can be asked to pay more than 9.5% of their gross pay for the cost of your plan’s individual coverage. For a worker earning 20K in a year, this means they cannot contribute more than $1900 a year or $158.33/month in order for the plan offered by their employer to be compliant. How this compliance benchmark is achieved is what will get tricky for many employers. When the compliance calculations are based on what the employer can legally pay for the lowest paid employees, it limits the amount of employer contribution that can be applied to the highest paid employees. If the amount contributed to all employees is based on the amounts of the employer contribution made available to higher paid employees, overall costs of benefit coverage will skyrocket. This is the dilemma the law intends. Employers will be challenged to create benefit programs that will be equally appealing and affordable for all employees. We are already talking to some employers who will elect to outsource their W2 relationships simply to avoid the risks of discrimination. Employer of Record Services—Minimizing the Impact of the ACA! The following are some ideas for PACE customers who are open to looking at new staffing strategies built around the special provisions in the law designed specifically for staffing providers. You will notice that we have laid out these ideas from the perspective of a third party employer service provider, not just a temporary or contract labor provider. The PACE Staffing Network has recently added a new “employer only” service, what we call an Employer of Record Service, partly in anticipation of the service needs of our clients following the implementation of the ACA in January. Employer of Record Services are particularly attractive to employers with strong internal recruiting capabilities because they offer highly discounted bill rates that carve out all extra costs (for recruiting, screening, etc.) to include only those costs associated with providing W2 employer services. Employer of Record Service packages are customized to the unique needs of each client, but the following represents a few ideas of how these services might be applied to your workplace as a way to shave workforce costs.

1. Employers can use a third party employer solution to avoid compliance requirements. For employers who need to add staff, but also want to remain below the 50 FTE (fulltime equivalent) threshold that exempts them from the ACA regulations, using a third party employer solution to channel employees to another employer can delay the point when they must become compliant with the law.

The Employer of Record Service option is ideal for employers who have located an employee they want to hire, but don’t want to absorb the costs or administrative hassles of employing that worker directly. Employer of Record Services is especially ideal for companies who want to either avoid or delay the compliance requirements of the ACA.

We are encouraging our smaller clients to plan now for what lies ahead. We’ve heard stories of regulatory agencies getting ready to target companies who have been sending large numbers of already existing employees to a third party employer as a way to avoid ACA regulation. We do not recommend this strategy. 

But for employers who haven’t yet reached that 50 FTE benchmark, a third party employer solution applied to your near term hires can successfully delay when your company falls under the ACA.

Word of caution: using a third party employer solution is considered a short term (one-two year) solution. The administrative rules of the ACA dictate that after one year, all workers in your facility, regardless of who employs them, will be counted as part of your FTE.

2. Employers Can Use a Third Party Employer Solution to Mitigate the Costs of Adding Staff.  If you’re an employer who needs to hire but is reeling from the high costs currently associated with each new hire (and targeted to increase after January 2014),  it may be time to seriously consider using a third party employer solution as an extended (6-12 month) onboarding strategy.

While you may have already reviewed and walked away from the more traditional temp-to-hire staffing models, the lower cost, Employer of Record Service model offers all the cost savings advantages of categorizing employees as variable, while providing a very behind-the-scenes model of W2 employment.

Whether you use the full service temp-to-hire service model, or the considerably streamlined Employer of Record Service model, the opportunity to onboard a large number of workers at substantially lowered worker costs compared to the costs of hiring directly is the outcome of either choice.

3. Employers Can Use a Third Party Employer Solution to Avoid Administrative Hassles. The ACA is not just a regulation that adds additional direct costs, but is a regulation rich in administrative detail and reporting requirements.  Administering healthcare benefits where you have to apply definitions of variable workers, calculate look back, measurement and stability periods, and do e “affordability” testing, is going to be a daunting task for whoever takes it on.

And the penalties for not doing the right administration correctly will be significant.

As a staffing company with a large “third party employer” workforce, one of our core competencies is our ability to manage all federal and state staffing regulations, including the ACA. We are getting ready now to be fully compliant with all regulations by January 1st, 2014 and will be ready to help our customers manage through the transition.

jeanneFor a better understanding of how the ACA will impact your company and what you need to know about the options available for you to mitigate the costs associated with the new mandates, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com to arrange for a personal consultation. Our approach to the ACA is not only to be fully compliant by January 1st, 2014, but to help our customers take full advantage of all aspects of ACA provisions that can drive down staffing costs. This article was prepared by Jeanne Knutzen, Founder and CEO of the PACE Staffing Network using information from a variety of legal, staffing, and other professional sources.

A Day in the Life: Healthcare Administration

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 14, 2013

0 Healthcare Staffing A Career In Healthcare Administration, Entering Healthcare Administration, Healthcare Administrator, healthcare administrator jobs in Seattle, Healthcare Administrators, Healthcare Staffing In Seattle, Seattle Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing Agencies, Seattle WA Staffing Agency, Staffing In Seattle, Temporary Staffing In Seattle

While physicians, RNs, surgeons, and orderlies are darting around a busy hospital focused on caring for their patients, how do they know who’s responsible for what? Who takes care of the work schedules, management issues, orders, billing, financial matters and policy decisions that allow the hospital to function? Who handles the hiring, firing, budget allocations and business transactions that support the financial health of the clinic and the actual health of its patients? This responsibility falls to the healthcare administrator, a hardworking, well respected member of the industry. This person directs everything that takes place within the clinic or healthcare facility, and she usually holds a master’s degree and several years of experience in a management setting. This position is perfect for those who would like to play a key role in healthcare but aren’t necessarily looking for hands-on treatment responsibilities in clinical environments. If healthcare administration sounds like an ideal career for you, enter the field by making the following moves. Entering Healthcare Administration: Four Steps

1. Learn as much as you can about the field. For starters, it may be useful to know that this profession is in very high demand, and the number of available positions is expected to grow to about 100,000 by 2016. Inquire into your social network to find out who can connect you to an experienced healthcare administer (or administrators).  Once you have a list of names, set up informational interviews with these people to ask for guidance and advice.

2. Earn an undergraduate bachelor’s degree from a reputable, accredited university. Choose a major related to health policy, public health administration, business administration, biology, biochemistry, or any of the life sciences.

3. Pursue a graduate education. While some entry level healthcare admin fields don’t require more than a four year degree, most employers expect candidates to hold at least a master’s degree in public health administration or health policy. To gain access to a reputable graduate program, you’ll need to make sure your coursework, GRE scores, and recommendations are strong.

4. Survive graduate school without burning out. And while you’re working hard and gaining the support your need to pass your exams, make sure you’re also establishing a professional network. Earn the respect of your colleagues and professors, actively seek exposure to professional settings through part-time work and internships, and make contact with anyone in the field who may be able to help you when you’re ready to graduate and start looking for work.

When it’s time to step onto the job market, gather all the resources you need to hit the ground running. A professional staffing agency can be a great place to start. If you are looking for healthcare administrator jobs in Seattle, reach out to the employment experts at Pace for the connections, tools and job search tips you’ll need to get ahead.

Technical Interviews: Make the Most of the Process

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 7, 2013

0 IT Staffing IT development jobs seattle, Make The Most Of Technical Interviews, Respond To Technical Interview Questions, Seattle IT Staffing, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle WA Staffing, Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are a common part of the job selection process within fields that demand programming skill. While no responsible hiring manager bases an entire hiring decision on technical questions alone, they nevertheless provide employers with a few key insights into a candidate’s readiness, insights that can’t be drawn from a resume, a cover letter, a work sample or a set of questions dealing with personality and behavior. Technical interview questions may begin with a candidate being handed a marker and a whiteboard and asked to solve an algorithm problem. Candidates might be asked to write the binary search algorithm or write code that will rotate an array in place without requiring additional memory. Sometimes candidates will be asked to find the longest palindrome in a string, or solve troubleshooting problems. The First Rule of Technical Interviews: Keep a Cool Head The entire concept of a technical interview often upsets, intimidates, or makes candidates feel a little resentful. After all, most experienced code writers and programmers know that when these problems arise on the job, the answers can easily be looked up. Even the most talented and experienced employees don’t usually carry these solutions and algorithms around in their heads. But when employers ask these questions, they aren’t just looking for straightforward answers. In fact, simply pulling the solution out by rote or from memory won’t really do anything to win them over. Instead, interviewers are presenting these questions in order to expose a candidate to a real world problem and observe the steps she takes to break the problem down and find a solution on her own. So the best way to prepare for this kind of interview won’t come from memorizing every possible answer to every coding problem imaginable. Instead, candidates should keep a cool head and call upon their experience, basic logical ability, and reasoning skills. Prepare for your interview by practicing with a friend, preferably a friend with some relevant technical experience. And remember that even if your potential employers put you on the spot by presenting you with real-time coding problems, they’ll balance your response to these questions with the details of your entire profile. If you looking for IT development positions in the Seattle area, contact the staffing experts at PACE today!