You see a job advertisement for a gig that you can do from home. They say you work with clients of well-known brands like Chanel and Nordstrom. You can even work in your pajamas. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Wait. The rental company is not Chanel or Nordstrom. Instead, it’s a third-party company that does customer service for these brands. The small print says that instead of a flat-rate hourly wage, you will be paid according to the minute of the logged phone time. The position may be full time but you will not receive any benefits as you are considered an independent contractor. Because you are your own boss!
Remote positions like this are becoming more common – even with legitimate employers.
Alexandrea Ravenelle, Gig Economy Researcher and Professor at the University of North Carolina and author of “Hustle and bustle and gig“Says the not-tasting aspects of these remote jobs are part of a broader trend she calls” workforce gigification. “
“In gigifying the workforce, we’re starting to apply some elements of gig work or independent contract work to other types of occupations,” she said.
For example, tech companies like Uber and DoorDash hire hordes of independently hired gig workers who are not considered employees and pay them per trip or delivery completed, not by the hour. These gig employees are also not entitled to typical services.
Now these practices are creeping into office work, especially remote office work.
“The pandemic, if anything, really brings this to the fore,” she said.
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for remote work.
First, make sure the company – and the listing – is legitimate
Before you begin weighing a company’s work-from-home policies, first verify that the company is actually real. Also, make sure the job posting is published by the rental company. Avoiding fraud should be your first step.
Use these quick tips to confirm that a remote Tasklist is legitimate.
- You haven’t applied anywhere? Do not send information to “recruiters”. According to the Federal Trade Commission, fake recruiters will contact you by email or phone asking for your personal information to post a job with a recognizable company. Don’t tell them anything if you haven’t applied anywhere or asked to be contacted. Reputable remote employers do not solicit applicants this way. If you are unsure and don’t want to ruin potential customers, here’s what you can say, “Thank you for your interest. Let me confirm the company and I will get back to you. “
- Job boards are helpful, but don’t stop there. Finding a job through a website like Indeed is a good place to start. However, we don’t recommend applying through Indeed as scammers can create compelling listings with logos and details of real companies. They can use these fake entries to collect your information and prepare you for more scams. If you find a job posting through a third party like Indeed, always check the owner’s website for the original posting to make sure it is a real job and apply there.
- Research the company. Suppose you found a great looking opportunity listed right on a company’s website. Be vigilant. You are still not done verification. Check the company to see if it is a reputable employer. glass door can be a helpful tool for seeing what other employees have to say. You should also verify the company’s website URL against the URL provided on the Glassdoor profile. If you don’t have a Glassdoor profile, check to see if you have an active Facebook account. Still out of luck? Use a search engine to find out if the company has been mentioned in any media, especially media located in the alleged headquarters. If none of these methods prove fruitful, move on.
If all else fails, confirm with the company directly.
“There’s no shame in calling the company. Find out about the company online, find the direct line, and call HR,” said Ravenelle.
What else to look for in your remote job search
Some office jobs that are now away are starting to look like gig work.
Here are some trending hiring practices that you should be wary of. Again, they may not be immediate indicators that the job is a scam, but they should be heavily considered in your decision to work for the company.
Bring your own office
Specific requirements for office equipment are common for remote employers. Reputable employers will either send you the equipment you need or give you a scholarship to make sure your office is up to date. However, it’s also common for you to have to pay cash for a few upgrades.
Some companies have modest policies; B. the requirement of a Windows-based computer and high-speed Internet. Because of me. Other companies are more demanding. Lockable filing cabinets, 17-inch dual-screen monitors, specific RAM and processing speed requirements for your computer, and noise-canceling USB headsets with an attached microphone may be required. Dumping all of these costs on you should be a red flag.
“In the past, employees would go into offices and have access to a company printer, and they would have access to the company coffee pot, and they would have access to air conditioning, electricity and company computers.” Said Ravenelle. “Now they have to equip their own office space with office supplies and furniture, as well as all the resources for work.”
Notice how these costs add up, especially if you haven’t received a written job offer.
Just because you’ve confirmed that an employer is real doesn’t mean they are treating their employees ethically.
Pay per minute
In some remote call centers, you will find that wages are determined by the minute rather than the hour.
For example, you may have the “potential” to make $ 15 an hour. This number is calculated based on the number of minutes of phone time that you log. So you really make 25 cents a minute.
It is theoretically possible to speak to a customer for a full hour without a break, but the reality is that you will likely have a few calls an hour and the time you spend dialing the phone, hanging up, or even emailing Your co-address to send workers are not paid.
This kind of focus on the task as opposed to holistic tasks is another big red flag.
Background check fees
Any money request during the hiring process should automatically set off alarm bells, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
In many cases, paying a company something is a clear hallmark of fraud. However, in some cases, a real company may ask you to pay for your own background check.
“That’s an amount of work the company should pay,” said Ravenelle.
A company could do this to keep hiring and labor costs down. And of course, if the background check doesn’t come back sparkling clean, you won’t be hired and no longer paid as much as you paid.
Even after you’ve done your due diligence and verified that the company is legitimate, this practice should be high on your list of deal breakers.
Like ProPublica recently in one detection With several large customer service outsourcing companies, you may be effectively paying to work in some companies. ProPublica focused on Arise, an independent “platform” for business owners that bills their independent contractor employees for access to software necessary to connect with callers.
Companies convince their employees that they are entrepreneurs. That monthly software fee deducted from your paycheck? These are business costs.
This practice in some ways mirrors the policies of popular websites like Etsy or Upwork that charge you for using their website to sell products or services. In these cases, however, the websites work more like marketplaces where you can set your own prices and rates.
In the case of Etsy, you are physically putting a product up for sale. At Upwork you can choose your customers and offer projects and services at an agreed price.
Bottom line: if you are hired by a remote call center or other outsourcing company, they should pay you. Not the other way around.
Independent contractor status
Being an independent contractor – also known as a 1099 worker – is not an inherently bad thing. For example, freelance work is a common form of 1099 jobs. Driving for Uber? 1099 work.
It gets difficult when the line between independent contractors and employees blurs.
It is becoming increasingly common for companies to hire workers as independent contractors while being asked to attend mandatory training, work at a desk or at home, and follow certain rules. These are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and you will receive an hourly wage (or a minute wage).
According to the IRSBased on these provisions, the worker should be considered a W-2 worker.
It is illegal to misclassify workers as independent contractors. Businesses do this anyway to avoid paying social security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance taxes. over time; paid vacation; Health benefits and more, says Ravenelle.
Be skeptical about hiring an independent contractor if the job sounds like a regular full or part time job. Even when it’s far away.
“His [misclassified as] An independent contractor means you are out of generations of hard-won health and safety practices. In many cases, you may have less protection in the workplace than your grandparents – and possibly even your great-grandparents, “she said.
In short, when you are classified as an independent contractor, you are cheaper to hire and easier to fire. If you have two jobs in mind, and one sees you as an independent contractor and the other as a W-2 employee, Ravenelle recommends taking the job that treats you as an employee.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com