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Should Independent Contractors have Benefits?

Independent contractors are a gray area that needs to be addressed. Let’s get one thing clear: although independent contractors are not full time with your company, they are just as important as any other employee within your organization. The bottom line is they contribute to your organization just as much (if not more) than any other employee does. But for some reason- whether it’s because you only needed their services temporarily or you didn’t have it in your budget to hire another full-time employee, you chose to hire an independent contractor.

But here’s the thing- independent contractors contribute to your bottom line. This means that any work that you assign to them, you want them to do their very best. Unfortunately for you, you can’t hire just anyone. You want to attract top talent who will deliver great work that will produce the results you need to help your business grow.

So, how can you do this? By offering your independent contractors’ competitive salaries and fun and exciting perks! As an employer, you cannot offer independent contractors health coverage because of legal concerns. Not only that, but that defeats the purpose of having independent contractors in the first place. Once you offer an employee health coverage, they begin to rely on that job as a full-time position.

So rather than offering these independent contractors’ typical benefits that full-time employees receive, get creative and offer them other fun perks that they can find value in! Here are some ways to make independent contractors feel like a valued team member while not offering them full-time benefits:

Give them a flexible schedule

Generally speaking, independent contractors set their own schedules and complete their work based on the schedule they set. If you want to show independent contractors that they are appreciated, give them the freedom and flexibility to create their own schedules.

Additionally, allow them to work remotely! Remote work and allowing employees to create their own schedule is a scary thought to some employers. The key is to establish trust before you bring the contractor on. It’s important to let them know that they can enjoy their freedom as long as the work is not affected by their flexibility and everything is in on time.

Include them in team bonding

Since independent contractors are not employees, its easy for independent contractors to feel as if they are not part of the company. However, you want to make your independent contractors feel like they are a part of the team- because they are! Team bonding activities also improve the overall success of your organization. Bonding activities help team members understand each other’s weaknesses and interests. This is a great way to show your contractors how their work contributes to the big picture. If you have lunch outings with other staff or if you go to a sporting event as a team, don’t forget to include your independent contractors. They will appreciate the invite and will feel as if they are a part of the team.

Don’t forget the little things

Like any other employee, independent contractors want to know that their work is being appreciated. If you notice that your independent contractor went above and beyond for something or did a great job on a project, let them know! This shows that you pay attention to the work that they are doing, and their hard work does not go unnoticed. It is also a free and effortless way of making this person feel like a valued team member!

Free food

Everyone needs a cup of coffee (or three), along with some snacks to keep them going throughout the day. Stocking your office with snacks for your employees and independent contractors is a considerate way to show them that you care. Keep coffee, water bottles, soda’s and small snacks like cookies, popcorn, and energy bars in the kitchen at all times, and employees will have the things they need to get them to power through the day.

Friday Fun

Consider turning Fridays into a fun day! Maybe a couple of Fridays out of the month, you allow team members to leave work early to enjoy their weekend a few hours earlier. This is not only an excellent perk for independent contractors but the entire office! There is nothing like free vacation time after weeks of hard work!

Offer Lifestyle Spending Accounts

Perhaps you want to offer your independent contractors a little bit more in addition to these simple ways to make them feel like an appreciated team member. Maybe you want to provide them with perks like gym memberships, spa treatments, or just a nice dinner on you as a way of saying thank you.

Work2Live: Providing you with perks for your independent contractors

Finding perks for independent contractors is complicated because of legality issues and tax concerns. At Work2Live, we have the perfect resolution, Lifestyle Spending Accounts. Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs) are an account-based benefit in which an employer allows employees to make specific types of purchases and get reimbursed from the amount that has accrued in their LSA. Unlike other employee benefits, LSAs don’t have any tax advantage. They are funded by the employer and are considered taxable income. This means that you don’t have to worry about additional taxes as the employer!

LSAs are also entirely in the employer’s hands. As the employer, you get to determine who has access to these LSAs and how much goes into their account. If an independent contractor were to leave, you simply cancel the account and that’s all there is to it! Unlike health or dental coverage, independent contractors are not a necessity. This means this is simply just a perk to let your independent contractors know that you value the work that they do! Lifestyle spending accounts can cover costs like gym memberships, fitness classes, or nutritional coaching. For the first time, your independent contractors will have access to perks that they love!

If you are thinking of perks you can offer your independent contractors, consider these few ways. By providing independent contractors perks in addition to their competitive salaries, you will be able to attract top talent to ensure that you are getting the best people out there to help your company to succeed. Want to learn more about Lifestyle Spending Accounts? Try a free demo today to see how it works!

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