We are really excited about these two great companies coming together to combine “forces” and provide greater value to our clients and ICs.
The purchase was finalized and effective on April 19, 2019.
No, Openforce acquired 100% of Flex. Flex is now a business unit or division of Openforce. Flex will focus its efforts on the courier market – but may be utilized for other types of clients if the Flex platform provides the best fit for the need.
Both Rob and Kirk are going to continue to bring their expertise, relationships, and knowledge to the industry and the Openforce team. Rob and Kirk have both become employees of Openforce and serve as Co-Presidents of the Flexible Workforce division.
Rob is a 40 plus year veteran in the courier industry was the Co-President of Flexible Workforce. His career began as a delivery driver and courier in 1975. Rob has served on the board of the MCAA for over 20 years and is a past president of the CLDA. Rob founded, sold, and managed several companies over his long tenured career. Rob also served as President and COO at SCI for 15 years.
Kirk is a 26-year veteran of the final mile delivery industry and was Co-President of Flexible Workforce. His career began in 1993 when he founded Corporate Couriers in Ft. Worth, TX. In 2006, he opened another location in Austin, TX. Kirk sold his business in 2012 and moved on to work for SCI as their National Business Development Director and Executive team member where he served for almost 5 years. Kirk served 12-years as a board member of the CLDA and served as President from 2014-2016. Kirk received his BBA degree from Texas Christian University, and resides in Fort Worth, TX with his wife, Kelley, and two daughters. Kirk enjoys fishing and thoroughbred horse racing.
Yes. He is the CEO of Openforce, and the Flex teams will roll up under him.
No. Nothing will change in your platform or processing. We will, of course, look for ways to bring the best of both platforms to all of our customers.
There are no plans for any business structure changes. Our commitment is to our clients and Independent Contractors. With that in mind, we will continue to focus first on ways to streamline the enrollment experience, provide more recruitment tools, and mitigate compliance risks as our priorities.
Our number one commitment is to you, our clients, and ultimately your Independent Contractors. We are looking to make recruitment, enrollment, and retention easier so ICs can join your workforce sooner and more efficiently. Both teams will be working hard to make that happen.
No changes are planned to names but Flexible Workforce will now be a part of Openforce.
Nothing will change in the way we are servicing our clients or ICs.
All contracts will remain in effect.
Eventually, yes. The Openforce marketing team will assess and work with the Flex team to best understand the needs of all of our clients and potential clients to create one exciting new website that encompasses all that we offer.
You can continue to reach out to your designated account representative or contact with questions.
We have many temporary employees who are payrolled through a staffing firm. They are working for us on a multiyear project. Are we able to control their day-to-day work, discuss goals, performance, etc.? I guess I’m asking, how much control can we have over those types of workers, or should we treat them like ICs?
The only time employers should exert control over the day-to-day work of any worker is if the employer is issuing a W-2 and classifying the worker as an employee. If an employer has a significant number of temporary workers and has not reviewed their classification status with counsel, that course of action is recommended for a thorough review.
Is it a bad idea to give an independent contractor a company email address so that if they engage with a client it looks like they are working on behalf of the organization?
There are many other factors to consider, however there can indeed be concerns with assigning an organizationally controlled email address. Discuss with your employment lawyer if there is a feasible workaround. In some cases, it might be a viable option to use such emails.
Should you follow the law in the state in which your company is based or the state in which the IC is based?
You will need to follow the state laws in the state where the independent contractor is providing service to prevent challenges from local state authorities. The IRS or federal agencies can challenge the model as well from the federal level. If you are a multi-state organization, you may need to be aware of variations in the laws across all applicable states.
The classification is contractor versus employee. “Internal contractor” does not have a specific legal connotation; and the question really depends on the relationship between the worker and the employer.
We supply all tools and equipment for the contractor as well as instruction on what and how to perform the task, is he independent?
First, it’s important to know the applicable test in your jurisdiction. If in a state where a strict ABC test applies, supplying tools, equipment, and instruction are all factors that weigh in favor of employee classification. Review the totality of the facts with an employment lawyer to determine if you are correctly classifying the workers.
How does the ABC test work in the construction industry where subcontracting companies are often hired for particular jobs?
If you are a hiring entity that has hired a contractor making use of a subcontractor, in a strict ABC test jurisdiction you may be liable as a hirer if the subcontractors are being misclassified. It’s important to clearly review your contract with the contractor to secure indemnification in such an event.
The law is aimed at protecting workers from being taken advantage of. Independent contractors enjoy freedom and flexibility when running their own business, while employees enjoy benefits and other legal protections. The original aim of the distinction is to maximize the benefit to both categories of workers.
What if you are in FL and have ICs that work for you 1-3 days at a time only one to two times a year to complete a specific training project and perform the work in another state. We pay them through our payroll system and house their information in our HRIS, so can we set up direct deposit?
The classification rests on the totality of the facts at hand. If they maintain an independent business, you do not control the means by which they conduct their work, and they are paid on a per project basis, they are most likely going to be classified as an independent contractor. Consult with an employment lawyer familiar with Florida and federal classification laws.
We’ve just partnered with a staffing agency in Chicago. They have assured us they have done background screens and that each IC has workers’ comp and liability insurance. The staffing agency has a third party to pay ICs and prepare 1099s. We want to use this to cover peak production periods but now we are worried because we have employees, temporary labor staffing, and ICs all working similar positions. Sales staff at the staffing agency was convincing, but now we are not certain we’re on solid ground for classification. What should we do?
This is a rather complex legal question because it involves multiple parties. However, it is important to note that if the worker is rendering services to an employer—then all hiring/contracting duties, responsibilities and classification decisions are generally the responsibility of that employer. An outsourced staffing provider’s actions and interactions may have a bearing on classification findings related to that employer. It is likely best to consult with an employment lawyer familiar with applicable state and federal classification laws to make a quick review of the processes utilized both internally and by the staffing agency.
Does an ICIS portal actually go through the IC criteria and make a determination as to whether they are approved or not?
ICIS solution providers such as Openforce work with contracting companies and their counsel/advisors to design the workflows and processes that best suit business needs and mitigate misclassification risks. Once those optimum processes and workflows are established, ICIS solution providers such as Openforce then utilize their technology to enforce the designed processes and workflows for all onboarding 1099 workers—while maintaining a key system of record for all related 1099 worker data, qualifications, documents and settlement histories. If the workflow requirements are not met by the onboarding contractor—the portal indicates this to allow the company to make appropriate remediation or non-contracting decisions.
This question is best answered by an insurance attorney in the state that your business operates in. Though generally, these are different types of insurance coverages.
There is no current requirement for workers classified as independent contractors to maintain a Social Security Number. Other laws and regulations apply across the various jurisdictions about reporting this information. Hiring entities utilizing ICs should also be aware of the “B Notice” process and its effects. ICIS systems such as Openforce provide a “TIN check” against an applicable EIN or SSN at the time of onboarding to prevent later B notice problems.
Typically, independent contractors are issued 1099s by the hiring business. ICIS providers such as Openforce offer multiple options for 1099 issuance.
This is a rapidly developing area of the law. An ICIS can help support an inference that workers are correctly classified as independent contractors by separating out all elements of their treatment by the hiring entity, by enforcing pre-defined onboarding and settlement workflows, and by preserving data and audit trails related to onboarding. In addition, depending on the plan selected with an ICIS such as Openforce, defense costs for agency-level claims is sometimes included.
This is delicate and should be handled carefully. It is not impossible. In addition to ensuring that the contract is clear, how they are treated moving forward must be changed. For example, if they were subject to management of their work previously, they should now be evaluated on a project by project basis to continue the contractual relationship.
What is the best way to handle newly established ICs—specifically, those that are not yet doing work for other companies?
As for independent contractor onboarding, make sure that any briefing does not resemble training. Clearly define the terms of the contract for the project they’ve been hired to complete. Specific questions should be directed to an employment lawyer.
Some of our ICs need access to our internal systems and to be part of internal email groups for ease of communication, etc. In order to set them up with emails we have to enter them into our HRIS but they are labeled or coded clearly as Contractors. Is that ok?
This may be ok, but the specifics should be discussed with an employment lawyer. It is advisable that they should not be on the same payroll list as employees or receive similar communication as employees.
Yes, it applies at all points in the timeline.
Openforce provides reporting at multiple levels within the system—enabling contracting companies and ICs to maintain critical business information at their fingertips. Contracting companies are able to view, sort, filter and get reports on virtually any segment of their IC workforce, from enrollment through settlement. ICs are able to view and download 1099s, settlement history, profile information, etc.
How do you require a contract caregiver to get occupational accident insurance without appearing to directly manage them?
Occupational accident insurance can be positioned as mandatory, similar to general liability, as required coverage for independent contractors to utilize the registry. The cost of occupational accident insurance is nominal in comparison to the propensity of workplace injury requiring medical expenses or wage replacement coupled with the reduced risk of reclassification.
However, mandating occupational accident insurance is still your decision and we can make it optional based on your IC enrollment preferences.
While the majority of registries we work with only require professional liability for independent contractors, additional coverage is available for contractors who wish to further insulate and protect their business. Ultimately, independent contractors share the same legal obligations and potential liability exposure as a registry. Independent contractors can be sued for bodily injury and property damage, resulting in financial insecurity.
Yes, contract caregivers can purchase their own occupational accident insurance on the open market.
The Openforce platform is HIPAA compliant and offers secure, digital and documented rate negotiations that are managed within Openforce’s software. Any text messages that Openforce sends to independent contractors do not contain sensitive information.
Can contract caregivers pay for insurance directly to the insurance group and not through the registry?
Yes, contract caregivers can setup manual and automatic payments directly with the providing insurance group.
Does Openforce provide any training or supplemental information about its platform to contract caregivers?
Yes, Openforce offers a variety of tools and information to independent contractors to help them get acquainted with our platform. We provide managed onboarding services to assist with getting contractors fully onboarded in a timely manner, how-to videos, additional information on available contractor benefits and a monthly newsletter that provides updates on any new features that were released. Independent contractors also have the option to contact our customer support department via phone or email on an ongoing basis.
Of the clients that have made Openforce aware they underwent a Department of Labor audit, all results were positive with no infractions.
Openforce’s platform and services fees are dependent on the products purchased, as well as the size of the registry and number of contract caregivers we are providing services for.