Ask Matt: It's 40 hours, but it's freelance. Why?

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE
  • Updated: August 18, 2014 - 8:56 AM

Dear Matt: Why are some jobs advertised as onsite, 40 hours per week, but are considered freelance/contract positions?

Matt says: There are a variety of reasons, says Marlene Phipps, President/CEO of Celarity Inc. (celarity.com), a Minnesota marketing, creative and IT staffing firm. These are typically jobs placed through staffing firms like Celarity. Companies might hire a staffing firm because they have a small HR team, or because they don’t have time to recruit candidates, or they have short/long-term projects and don’t want to add permanent staff.

“When you add up the hours and money spent on placing ads, interviewing countless candidates and sifting through hundreds of résumés, it’s an incredible amount of valuable time,” says Phipps.

Then there is the paperwork and compliance side, involving the proper classification of workers with government entities such as the Department of Labor and the IRS. That’s something staffing firms also handle. The government is trying to collect taxes from independent contractors that are acting as employees and they are going after the companies that use them, says Phipps. You might fall in this category depending on the IRS 20 factor test and that is why organizations would use the staffing firm to avoid this issue.

The organization can also lower costs by hiring contractors because the staffing firm handles the payroll taxes and benefits.

Don’t overlook this type of job just because it’s considered temporary. A contract role can give job seekers a great deal of flexibility. You can continue to look for a permanent opportunity for when your contract ends, and it could also turn into a permanent role if the company decides you would be a good long-term fit. You can also avoid having gaps of unemployment on your résumé.

“You can gain more experience, skills and contacts in this position even though it’s not permanent,” says Phipps.

Stable opportunities are available through staffing firms — good paying opportunities with prominent local businesses including Fortune 500 companies and some of the top employers in the Twin Cities. And some of these employers only use staffing firms.

It could be the in you are looking for.

“You have the opportunity to get your foot in the door at companies you might not be able to otherwise,” says Phipps.

Also, many staffing firms (including Celarity) offer benefits such as health insurance, 401K, PTO and dental/vision as an option to maintain your contractor status with client companies.

And when your current contract is about to end your recruiter at the staffing firm will also help you look for other work.

Why pass up an opportunity like this? The way people get hired is changing. Be open to new opportunities to land that next job.

Contact Matt at jobslink@startribune.com.

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