The end of work as we know it

By John Kador, InfoWorld |  Career

9. Do you control the sequence or the order of the work performed?

10. Do you require the person to submit regular oral or written reports?

11. Do you pay the person by the hour, week or month?

12. Do you pay the person's travel and business expenses?

13. Do you furnish tools or equipment for the person?

14. Does the person lack a significant investment in facilities, tools, or equipment?

15. Can the person realize a profit or loss from his or her service to your company?

16. Is your company the sole or major source of income for the person?

17. Does the person not make services available to the general public?

18. Do you have the right to discharge that person at will?

19. Can the person terminate the relationship without liability?

20. Are the person's services vital to company operations?

Source: Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov)

The numbers are big: In the United States during just the first quarter of 2000, an
average of 2.88 million temporary workers were employed daily, a 7 percent increase
from the same period in 1999, according to the American Staffing Association's
quarterly member survey. Estimates on the size of the contingent labor pool vary from
10 to 35 percent of the total workforce, says Kathleen Heaton, senior writer at Net-
Temps, an online job posting board specializing in contract professionals and based in
North Chelmsford, Mass.

Temp vs. perm battlefield

If you're not a member of the contingent workforce, you're a permanent employee,
right? Don't look to your employee handbook for support. Employers will use the term
temporary but fear that workers will take permanent literally -- and will take them
literally to court. Instead companies prefer to denote former permanent employees as
full-time employees.

Is the grass greener?

The use of contract employees at some companies has generated controversy. Full-
time employees often resent these contingent workers who perform relatively the same
tasks for as much as double the in-house employee hourly rate. Full-time employees
don't realize or they forget that contingent workers receive few, if any, employee
benefits.

The benefit void has been attacked by the contingently employed, some of whom log
years at a single company. In recent history, Microsoft's eagerness to use contract
workers brought trouble for what some cited as an abuse of the practice. The company
was criticized for hiring contract workers, or "permatemps," essentially on a full-time
basis in order to avoid the cost of benefits, including stock options.

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