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Anna Mastrandrea

Anna Mastrandrea is the team lead of the payroll department at The Staffing Edge. For over 10 years, Anna has been providing the highest level of customer service to our members. Anna is an important part of our back office operations, running payroll for all of our members assignment employees, ensuring all proper payroll deductions have been set up, billing clients, and processing record of employment and filings to Service Canada. Her goal is to make sure all of our members assignment employees are paid properly, and most importantly, on time. Anna’s passion for challenges, learning, and problem solving makes her a great asset for our members, as no one member’s situation is ever the same. When Anna is not on the job, she enjoys spending time with her family, indulging her love for great wines, and playing volleyball.
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Recent Posts

5 Common Mistakes International Companies Make in the US Payroll Process

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Apr 15, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Common_Mistakes_International_Companies_Make_in_the_US_Payroll_ProcessPayroll becomes more complex when you’re dealing with the payroll rules of another country. International companies may find they struggle with the US payroll process even more than they do with the process at home.

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If you’re planning to expand to the US, here are a few of the most common mistakes to watch out for when you complete payroll.

1. Keeping on Top of Deadlines Is a Challenge in the US Payroll Process

Missed deadlines are probably the most common mistakes in the US payroll process for any business, international or otherwise.

The IRS sets out a schedule of remittances, which is usually based on how often you complete payroll. If you pay your employees every two weeks, you’ll need to make sure you’re remitting the tax withholdings to the IRS within so many days of completion.

There are other deadlines as well, such as the deadline for sending in information for new hires and the deadline for sending out certain income tax forms.

2. Worker Misclassification Is Common

Worker misclassification has become an important topic in the last ten years or so. The IRS now offers guidelines on how to classify your workers, and they’ll also review cases to determine whether misclassification took place. Some states have introduced their own penalties for misclassifying workers.

Accidental worker misclassification is easier and more common than you might realize. You may think you’ve hired a contractor, but if you have control over all aspects of the job, it’s likely you’ve hired an employee.

Your responsibilities as an employer are different when you work with a contractor. This can affect the US payroll process, so you’ll want to be sure you classify your people correctly.

3. Poor Record-Keeping

Many countries set standards for record-keeping, and they’ll also lay out regulations regarding how long you need to keep those records for. The rules surrounding records in the US payroll process are different from those you encounter at home, so you’ll want to read the fine print.

Poor record-keeping is common in the US, particularly with regard to data entry. You may want to check you’re not only keeping the right records but keeping accurate records as well.

Finally, be sure to verify both state and federal law about how long you need to keep records on hand. Different types of payroll records need to be kept for different amounts of time. The rules may even change depending on the job or the industry you’re in.

4. Paying the Wrong Tax Rates

The US has a graded system of taxes, which means the more an employee earns, the more they pay in tax. These tax brackets are always changing, so you need to be sure you’re using the right taxation rate. If you don’t, you or the employee could end up owing the IRS at the end of the year.

There are other taxes you’ll need to withhold as well, including withholding for Social Security and Medicare.

5. Miscalculating Overtime

Another common error for international businesses is paying overtime incorrectly. Be sure to check the rate, as well as whether there are any exemptions.

The US payroll process can be challenging, which is why it’s never a bad idea to get a helping hand. Get in touch with a professional employer organization (PEO) and make your US payroll easier than ever.

7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Payroll

Expanding into Canada? How to Avoid the Problems Target Faced

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Mar 27, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Expanding into Canada How to Avoid the Problems Target FacedExpanding a business can be an exciting opportunity and a monumental challenge for any management team. Even American companies expanding into Canada can face an uphill battle when finding success beyond the 49th parallel.

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One of the most infamous examples in recent memory is Target. The US retail chain thought it saw an opportunity in Canada when fellow retailer HBC closed its discount chain, Zellers. Target moved swiftly, buying up previous Zellers locations. Canadian consumers, who had been lobbying for Target for years, celebrated, and success seemed all but guaranteed.

Even in the first year of Canadian branch operations, however, there were signs of trouble. Within two years, Target announced it was shuttering the doors on its Canadian experiment.

The move left the business community asking, “What went wrong?” As it turns out, Target made a number of missteps when entering Canada. If you’re planning a Canadian expansion, heed these lessons and avoid making the same errors.

Conduct a Thorough Market Analysis

One of the biggest problems Target encountered was that top brass didn’t fully understand the Canadian market before crossing the border. This led to a number of problems, from market strategies to issues with the supply chain.

It’s easy for American businesses to assume they know how to deal with supply chain logistics. After all, the US is a geographic giant with many of the same geographical features and challenges. In Canada, however, issues within supply chains snowball due to smaller population centers. Servicing the same number of stores spread across the same area is even more costly and difficult when the population you’re working with is less than half of an American population.

The other major issue with Target’s market analysis was that it didn’t accurately portray why Canadians loved the brand. In addition to the empty shelves caused by supply chain issues, Target also failed to bring the exclusives it boasted in the US. Management mistakenly thought the excitement expressed by Canadian consumers was for low prices. If that had been the case, Zellers would have survived Walmart’s incursion.

Instead, Target made the error of going toe-to-toe with Walmart by offering low prices. It also tried to compete with other Canadian retailers, such as supermarket giant Loblaw’s, which offers chic, affordable fashion alongside groceries.

Take Smaller Steps

Within its first year, Target’s executives were admitting the retailer had bitten off more than it could chew with its Canadian expansion. This was apparent in the supply chain issues mentioned above.

Target overestimated enthusiasm and misunderstood what Canadians thought its brand offered. This led to overconfidence, and the brand bought up many former Zellers locations in short order, expanding rapidly throughout the country.

Opening fewer locations would have allowed for a more controlled, cautious expansion process. This, in turn, would have allowed Target to experiment on a smaller scale. The supply chain issues could have been resolved before they became widespread problems affecting thousands of Canadian consumers.

Tailor for Canadian Sensibilities

A slower expansion also would have allowed Target to tweak its Canadian strategy. One of the problems Target encountered was a failure to translate. Again misreading the market, Target thought Canadians wanted a pure replication of what they found in the US.

This didn’t work. Canadian consumers who were unfamiliar with the brand saw no reason to shop there. Those who were already Target customers in the US complained about higher prices and lack of selection.

In short, Target alienated the people who had advocated for it and failed to appeal to Canadian consumers who were unfamiliar with the brand.

Your strategy must be aligned with the Canadian market. Although Canada and the US share some cultural similarities, a carbon copy of a US company rarely finds a foothold in Canada.

If you keep these factors in mind, you’ll have a better chance at a successful Canadian expansion.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Business Expansion

How Long Should Employers Keep Employee Records in the US?

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Mar 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM

How Long Should Employers Keep Employee Records in the USGood record-keeping is essential for your business. Keeping records is not only wise, but you may be required by law to have employee documents on hand. Because the length of time you need these records is often governed by law, deciding how long to keep them is often a matter of legal compliance.

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When you expand to a new market, it’s a good idea to check that your company’s record-keeping policies are in line with the local law.

How long should employers keep employee records in the US? It’s one of the most common questions for employers entering the American market. The answer depends, somewhat, on which records you’re talking about.

How Long Should Employers Keep Employee Records?

The easy answer to this question is you should keep employee records for as long as the law states.

Some employers may opt to store employee records longer than the law-stated minimum. Make sure you’re not violating any laws by doing so. New data laws, similar to the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, could affect the maximum length of time you can keep records.

Other employers want to get rid of records as soon as possible. If you keep paper files, these could be cluttering up the office. Even digital files take up storage space on your hard drives.

What do US laws say specifically about keeping employee records? For payroll, the minimum length of time is three years. This includes employees who have terminated their employment with you.

Hiring records must be kept for at least a year after you’ve made an offer of employment. If you conduct drug testing during the hiring process or at any other point during employment, you’ll need to maintain records of the test for at least one year.

Other Record-Keeping Periods

How long should employers keep employee records of other events, such as benefits or requests for leave?

You’ll have to hang on to records of benefits and pension plans for twice as long as payroll records. The minimum length of time you need to keep these on file is six years.

If an employee makes a request under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have to keep the records for three years. You must keep the paper trail even when you deny the request. Always carefully document leaves that are used intermittently.

Form I-9 should be kept for three years after you hire an employee, or up to one year after they terminate their employment with you. Try to keep this form separate from your personnel files.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you’ll also need to keep collective bargaining agreements and performance appraisals. These must be maintained for two years after an employee resigns.

Other Laws to Be Aware Of

Most record-keeping laws are federal, but individual states can also apply their own regulations. For example, in Texas, you may need to keep wage and tax information records for up to four years.

You’ll want to review your record-keeping obligations under state law.

Other laws may affect record-keeping as well. For example, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers to keep all employment records for at least one year after the employee resigns.

If you’re following the rules about payroll and FMLA records, you should be complying with this requirement. You may want to double-check the list of records the EEOC says you need to keep on hand.

Another great example is drug testing. Some drug tests will fall under the usual rules for maintaining personnel records. If the job is related to transportation, however, you need to keep these records for five years to comply with the Department of Transportation’s regulations.

As you can see, there’s no single answer to the question, “How long should employers keep employee records?” It depends on the record, the law, and many other factors. If you’re unsure, you can always ask for help from a professional employer organization (PEO).

7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Business Expansion

The Real Cost of Payroll Errors in the US

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Mar 13, 2019 9:00:00 AM

The Real Cost of Payroll Errors in the USThe IRS has estimated that around one-third of employers make a payroll mistake in any given year. The average cost of these mistakes to employers clocks in at nearly $850 per year.

As a global employer, however, you’re wondering exactly how much payroll errors are costing you. The answer depends on the types of payroll mistakes you’re making.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

This guide will go over some of the most common errors payroll administrators make. It will also examine just how much these errors could be costing you.

Failure to Pay Is Among the Most Common Payroll Mistakes

The IRS hands out millions of payroll penalties in any given year. The bulk of those penalties are assessed as “failure to pay.”

Failure to pay means you didn’t pay all or part of the payroll taxes you owed as an employer. You may have remitted your income tax withholdings, but you forgot to submit Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The IRS assesses penalties for unpaid payroll taxes, to the tune of 100 percent of the unpaid tax plus interest. The longer the money is unpaid, the higher the interest rate will be.

You may also be penalized if you fail to file Form 941, which relates to your income tax and FICA remittances.

Each W-2 Form Can Cost You

Another common mistake employers often make is forgetting to send Form W-2 to each employee at the end of January for the previous tax year.

This mistake can add up in a large company. The IRS penalizes you $50 for each form you fail to send. If you have 10 employees, that could result in a fine of $500.

You Misclassified Workers

The IRS and various state governments have been trying to crack down on employee misclassification. This situation commonly arises when an employer assesses a worker as a 1099 contractor.

If the IRS determines this worker is actually an employee, you’ll be responsible for paying all of the tax you should have withheld. If the dispute drags on, this can mean paying back-tax for multiple years, which could cost you thousands of dollars.

The Toll of Payroll Mistakes on Your Employees

One of the more “hidden” costs of payroll mistakes is the toll it takes on your staff. If payroll is constantly being administered incorrectly, employees may need to deal with overages and shortages in their pay on a regular basis.

This creates a situation where the employee may lose trust in you and possibly decide to leave the company.

When this happens, you will need to account for the costs of turnover and hiring. While it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for turnover, the way you handle payroll could be a factor.

If you need to hire employees to replace those who leave, you should consider how much of this additional cost is directly related to payroll errors. Would you need to hire if your payroll was handled more efficiently?

The Labor Costs of Correcting Errors

Unlike hiring and employee turnover, the costs of correcting your payroll mistakes are easy to attribute. When you add them up, you’ll realize each error is costing you more than the penalty you paid to the IRS.

If you need to call someone in to work overtime to get all of your Form W-2s prepared and mailed, those costs must be added to what you’re paying the IRS in penalties. Suddenly, your costs may have jumped from $500 to $1,000.

Get a Helping Hand with Payroll

Once you’re able to consider all the factors involved in payroll penalties, it’s easy to see just how much payroll mistakes are actually costing your global business.

The best way to avoid these costs is to work with an expert team. If you need a hand, get in touch with a professional employer organization in the US to explore your options for better payroll.

7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Payroll

Expanding into Canada? 5 Considerations You Might Not Have Thought of Yet

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Mar 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Expanding_into_Canada__5_Considerations_You_Might_Not_Have_Thought_Of_YetFor many US businesses, expanding into the Canadian market seems like a lucrative opportunity. This is especially true for American companies. Canada shares many cultural similarities with the US, and the geography is often similar. American business owners may feel they’re well-equipped to enter the Canadian market, and they perceive a demand for their products and services.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Pay a Worker In Canada Needs to Know

If a Canadian expansion is on your radar, there are many things you’ll need to consider carefully.


1. You’ll Need a Plan for Employee Severance

In the United States, employers and employees operate on the assumption of “at will” employment. This means that either employer or employee can choose to end the employment relationship at any time, without prior notice.

An employee who arrives to work today could be told not to return tomorrow, and this wouldn’t pose a problem.

In Canada, it’s a different story. Employees must be given proper notice of termination. This is often at least two weeks prior to the end date. For employees who have served for many years, the notice period may be longer.

If you don’t have time to give proper notice, such as in the case of mass layoffs, then you may need to pay severance instead. This will consist of paying the employees for the notice period. If an employee was entitled to two weeks’ notice and you only gave them one, then you’ll need to pay them a week of severance.


2. Sales Tax

You’ve likely thought a bit about taxation, but probably only within the context of how your business will be taxed. You may not have thought much about sales tax.

You’ll want to be sure you know the regulations for collecting tax in the province in which you operate. Federal sales tax of five percent applies throughout the country. Alberta doesn’t have a provincial sales tax, but Ontario applies eight percent. Quebec’s provincial sales tax is even higher.

You’ll need to collect and remit sales tax to the CRA as appropriate. If you don’t, it could result in penalties.


3. Income Taxes

Another tax issue you must contemplate before you expand into Canada is income tax. As a foreign company with sales in Canada, you’ll likely need to file income taxes.

It’s important to do this properly and on time, so as to avoid penalties. The penalties for not filing income tax can be significant. The CRA may decide to audit your records.

It’s important to understand the various tax treaties in Canada, and how your business structure affects what you’ll need to remit. Tax varies as the structure of the business changes, so you’ll need to explore the best option for your business.


4. The Treatment of LLCs

A limited liability corporation (LLC) is a common business structure for American companies. In Canada, LLCs are treated the same as any other corporation for taxation purposes.

This limits your ability to create a “flow-through entity,” which allows your income to be taxed in one country but not the other. This could create a situation where you face double taxation, so be sure to review your business structure options.


5. The Need for Counsel

When you decide to expand your business into Canada, the best thing you can do is get expert advice. Whether you’re trying to determine what business structure is best for you, or you want to know more about the regulations for employment, seeking advice is prudent.

One great option to consider is to get in touch with a professional employer organization (PEO) that operates on both sides of the border to ease the expansion process.

What US Companies Need to Know about Paying Employees in Canada

Topics: Business Expansion

Why You Can Put Your PEO Fears to Rest

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Feb 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Why_You_Can_Put_Your_PEO_Fears_to_RestIf you’ve decided to take your business international, you’ve likely heard some discussions about working with a professional employer organization. While you might be considering a PEO to help you avoid common challenges, ensure compliance, or take HR administration off your plate, other business owners and managers may have told you about their own experiences.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

Perhaps you have questions of your own as well. You may be worried that working with a PEO means you’ll lose control of your business, or you might be concerned about the PEO suddenly altering your terms.

It’s natural for a business owner to worry about these sorts of things. When you work with a PEO, however, you can rest assured your investment in the relationship is safe.


A PEO Will Not Take Over Your Business

One of the most common misconceptions about professional employer organizations is that they’ll take over your business or reduce your control over it. You’ll no longer have a say in who you hire, how much you pay, or anything else.

This isn’t true. A PEO acts on your behalf, providing you with expert help for payroll and other HR tasks. While they may act as the employer on record for your workers, they’re ultimately following your policies and orders. They’ll advise you on changes you need to make to remain compliant, but the decisions are left to you.

You are still ultimately in control.


Do Your Research

Many business owners worry the PEO they partner with will go out of business. While this can be a valid concern, you should do your research beforehand. What’s the business’s record like? A newer company is more likely to go under than one that’s been successfully operating for over a decade.

You might also question whether the PEO partnership is a good investment. This can require a little bit more research, but the answer is often yes. If you run a small to mid-sized business, you may find a PEO is a great option to keep operations running smoothly.

Of course, this hinges on what you want out of the relationship. You’ll want to ask whether the PEO has experience in your industry and what their area of expertise is. If you want someone to handle payroll and the PEO you’re considering has an army of tax lawyers and benefits administrators, you might want to consider another company.

You should also ask questions about fees and pricing structures. Some PEOs do have hidden fees. Ask for an unbundled quote and read the fine print. Discover exactly what you’re paying for before you sign on the dotted line.


Most PEOs File Taxes on Time

Another reason you may want to engage a PEO is to ensure your payroll taxes are being filed on time and correctly. A common concern is that the company won’t prioritize your taxes, especially if your account is small.

It’s prudent to check the PEO’s reputation. You can do so by looking at online reviews. Most PEOs that have been in business for some time can be counted on to file taxes on time.

You may also want to check your contract for protections. What happens if they don’t file taxes on time? Your contract should give you options.


PEOs Are Professionals

Occasionally, you may make a misstep and partner with the wrong company. Most PEOs, however, are reliable and can be trusted. In most cases, you won’t need to worry about a PEO suddenly going under, altering the terms of your agreement, or unexpectedly ceasing communications.

That’s because PEOs are staffed by professionals. When you partner with them, you enter into a professional relationship between two businesses. Service agreements and contracts must be honoured.

If you do your research, read the fine print, and act professionally, chances are you’ll find a winner. Working with a PEO can ease your operations, so don’t let fear hold you back.

What US Companies Need to Know about Paying Employees in Canada

Topics: Professional Employer Organization

How American Companies Ensure Success When Expanding into Canada

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Jan 23, 2019 9:00:00 AM

How_American_Companies_Ensure_Success_When_Expanding_into_CanadaFor many American business owners, expanding into Canada is a great first step toward international expansion. The Canadian market is often seen as a good target for companies beginning to expand, because Canada and the US share some cultural similarities.

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The Canadian market is also much smaller than the US market, although it’s segmented into regional cultures. The vastness of the country’s geography is also similar to the US and presents logistical challenges American companies are often familiar with.

That said, there are quite a few pitfalls that can cause challenges when expanding into the Great White North. These tips can help you avoid them and ensure success when you expand into Canada.


Conduct Market Research

The first thing you should do when you plan to expand to Canada is conduct market research. The Canadian market may exhibit some similarities to the American market, but there are also many unique aspects.

You’ll want to take a look at your competition.

Also look at the different regions of Canada. The job market in Montreal and Toronto is very different from what you’ll find in Calgary or Yellowknife.


Review the Law

The next thing you should do when you’re expanding into Canada is make sure you know the law. You may need to revise some of your policies in light of different Canadian labour laws. For example, at-will employment doesn’t exist in Canada.

Another area you’ll want to read up on is payroll regulations. The Canada Revenue Agency can penalize your company for remittance errors. The CRA can even bring criminal charges in some cases, although this isn’t common.

You’ll also want to look at differences in paid holidays, vacation, and more. Canada’s labour law, on the whole, offers more paid leaves than its American counterpart. There are differences among provincial law, however, so you’ll want to be sure you’re aware of the law where you operate.


Consider Differences in Culture

Despite seeming similar on the surface, Canadian and American business cultures are quite different. You’ll want to take extra caution when approaching both Canadian job seekers and clients.

An example is communication. Canadians may seem long-winded or indecisive to you, but Canadians prefer softer speech and consensus-building.


Think about Logistics

Canada is spread over a large geographical territory, with many remote areas. If you need to get workers from Calgary to oil sands operations in northern Alberta, you need to think about how you’ll do this.

You’ll also want to consider how you service your clients. Can you offer services in Alberta from an office in Ontario? You may decide to operate from branch offices closer to your clients and the markets you’re servicing.

This could mean multiple sites, or you may want to limit your service offerings to one geographical area to start.


Work with the Experts

Another thing you can do to ensure the success of your expansion into Canada is make sure you’re working with the experts. This might include a professional employer organization in Canada.

A PEO can provide assistance with payroll, HR, legal, and compliance. They can also offer great advice. Better yet, a provider already operating in Canada has the expertise you need as you expand your business over the border.

You’ll likely want to bring on more experts as well, but working with a PEO is one sure-fire way to set up your business for success.


12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Business Expansion

5 Best Practices for International Compliance

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Jan 7, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Best_Practices_for_International_ComplianceWhen you operate across international borders, the legal situation for your company becomes more tangled. There are rules you’ll need to watch on either side of the border. You’ll need to ensure your compliance with the law no matter where you are, which can mean adjusting policies and practices for each new market you enter.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

This can be especially difficult for companies operating in North America. Canadian business owners may not realize all of the shifting details of American regulations, and their American counterparts may face a similar situation when they cross into Canada.

With these five best practices, you can improve your international compliance. No matter which side of the border you’re operating on, you’ll be ready to adapt to new laws and regulations wherever you go.


1. Read up on the Legislation

Before you expand into any foreign market, be it Canadian, American, or otherwise, you should familiarize yourself with the regulatory climate. Keep in mind that you may need to look beyond the federal level. In both the US and Canada, for example, states and provinces have at least some say in labour regulations.

It’s also a good idea to keep up with the ongoing changes. Subscribe to local newspapers or legal newsletters that can keep you up to date on proposed legislation and changes being debated or passed in the legislature. This can help you stay up to date and pre-emptively amend your policies.


2. Create a Compliance Plan (and Follow up on It)

It’s never too early or too late to make a compliance plan. Having a process in place for monitoring your compliance and correcting it can save you both time and money. After all, it’s better to make a proactive change than to pay fines and need to change your policies anyway.

Once you’ve created a compliance plan, you’ll need to make sure your employees are executing it. If they’re not, it’s time to ask why. Understand the challenges and make implementing and monitoring compliance as easy as possible.


3. Understand the Relationships Between Your Countries of Operation

Canada and the US are close neighbours and closer trading partners. In fact, the US is Canada’s largest market, and American companies often see Canadian operations as a prime market for their own services and products.

Given the close ties between these two countries, it’s little surprise they have many treaties and regulations governing trade. The most famous was probably NAFTA, which was just replaced in late 2018 with a new trade deal. The two nations also have tax agreements to minimize double-taxation.

They also have agreements about immigration and work permits, which can ease the process.

Be sure to investigate the various agreements governing trade between your home country and any foreign market you plan to enter. This is especially important for Canadian and American companies, but it’s a good rule of thumb no matter where you go.


4. Get Help from the Experts

You won’t know all the laws when you expand your business operations to a new country. Nonetheless, you will be expected to enforce compliance.

It’s difficult to comply with laws when you don’t know they exist or don’t understand the nuance of them. That’s why you should get help from the experts whenever you want to expand or ensure your compliance. A professional employer organization with experience in both the Canadian and American markets can help.


5. Remain Flexible

The regulatory framework is changing all the time. It can sometimes seem overwhelming to keep up. Remaining flexible is one of the best things any business owner can do, whether they’re maintaining compliance in their home country or in several international markets.

Taken together, these best practices will help you implement and maintain compliance, no matter where your business expansions take you.


7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Compliance

Canada Hiring Basics for International Companies

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Dec 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Canada_Hiring_Basics_for_International_CompaniesAlthough Canada is a smaller market than the US, it shares many similarities with the American market. Canadian and American cultures often follow similar sensibilities, and the logistics of shipping products around a geographically enormous area are as present in Canada as they are in the US.

Download "What Are You Leaving to Chance By Handling Payroll on Your Own" Guide

If you want to expand into Canada, however, you’ll probably want to hire a few Canadian staff members to help with the expansion. As with all countries, Canada has its own employment law. Hiring here can pose challenges for international employers. That’s why it’s important to start with the basics.


Canadian Employment Is Contractual

This particular fact can be difficult for American employers and those from countries where “at will” employment is legal. In Canada, there is no such thing as “at will” employment.

All employment in Canada is considered contractual, which means contract law applies. If one party seeks to break the contract, there are certain protocols to be followed.For this reason, it’s best to lay down the terms of employment in a written contract.

If there is no written contract, then courts may impose obligations on you as the employer. You can create limited-term contracts.


Canadian Labour Law Has More Protections and Worker Entitlements

Employers from European countries may find Canadian labour law lax in terms of protections and rights for workers. American employers and those from other parts of the globe, by contrast, may find the rules in Canada to be more demanding.

A good example is paid parental leave. Canadian labour law offers up to a year of paid parental leave, in addition to laying out other paid and unpaid leaves. Employers, for example, must give workers bereavement leave.


There Are Provincial Differences in the Rules

Work hours, minimum wage, overtime, and even holiday pay and vacation time are governed by provincial laws. You’ll need to be familiar with the requirements in every province you operate in.

Federal law applies across the country, but it is only applicable to federal employees.

This means minimum wage in Ontario is different than minimum wage in Alberta. It also means Saskatchewan and Quebec can have different formulas for how to calculate vacation time, and even for which holidays workers are entitled to.

The rules in any province can be complex, so it’s best to work with an expert team to navigate them.


Ending Employment Can Be Difficult

Since Canadian employment is considered contractual, it can be difficult to end employment arrangements. In Canada, employers usually need what’s termed just cause to end employment.

This is a protection against discrimination. A just cause might be downsizing your operations. It might also be poor performance on the employee’s part. It’s your responsibility to prove that letting someone go is the only choice.

You’ll also need to observe notice periods. The longer an employee has worked for you, the more notice you’ll need to give them. If you can’t give notice, you’ll be required to pay severance.


Protecting Identities and Information

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms entitles Canadians to live their lives free of discrimination on a number of grounds. During the hiring process, you’ll need to be careful of bias and discrimination. There are certain questions you can’t ask, for example, such as whether a person is married.

You’ll also need to be clear about what information you collect from employees, how it’s stored, and how it’s used within your company.

As you can see, Canadian employment law is quite different from US labour law or that of any other country. If you need a hand navigating these tricky legal waters, don’t hesitate to reach out.


What US Companies Need to Know about Paying Employees in Canada

Topics: human resources

Hiring in the US? 7 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Employee Misclassification

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

|

Dec 19, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Hiring_in_the_US__X_Ways_to_Reduce_the_Risk_of_Employee_MisclassificationInternational hiring is often a challenge for businesses looking to expand into new markets. Even established businesses can sometimes run into trouble when it comes to finding the right people.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

One of the most common challenges is employee misclassification.

There are penalties for misclassifying employees as independent contractors, so you’ll want to be particularly careful about this. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce your risks.


1. Know the Definitions Pertaining to Employee Misclassification

The first thing you should do when it comes to employee misclassification is to ensure you understand the terms and how they’re used. Who qualifies as an employee? Who should be classed as an independent contractor?

Generally speaking, employees work for you. They have relatively little say over the tools they use or the processes established. They will use your equipment and work on site as well.

Independent contractors, by contrast, have much more say over processes, tools, and even location.


2. Establish an Assessment Process

Once you understand the definitions and how different workers should be classified, you can begin assessing the people you’re hiring and working with.

The assessment process will help you accurately identify each and every worker. It’s a useful tool to employ during the hiring process, as well as throughout an employment contract.


3. Create Guidelines for Hiring Contractors

Your assessment process will help you identify who is an employee and who’s acting as an independent contractor.

How do you go about hiring contractors? You should establish some guidelines to help you move through the process. Good guidelines will help you not only determine who is a contractor but also how you should complete the hiring process.

This can include information about what documents the contractor needs to sign, their responsibilities, and more. Review your contracts and make sure everything is in good legal standing.


4. Conduct an Internal Audit of Your Workers

If you’ve been hiring in the US for some time, you may have some misclassified workers. It’s not a bad time to conduct a review of those who are already working for you.

An internal audit will help you identify any cases of employee misclassification. Then you can take steps towards correcting these cases.


5. Manage Contractors and Employees Differently

Remember the key differences between employees and independent contractors in the US. Employees have much less control over how their work is completed. You’ll often supply them with what they need for the job. Contractors, by contrast, have decision-making power over many aspects of a job.

You’ll need to employ different management styles for these two types of workers. If you try to manage employees as contractors, or vice versa, you may run into issues.


6. Form a Team to Handle Issues

An employee or contractor who feels they’ve been misclassified can go to the IRS and request a review. This triggers an investigation. You can also ask for a review, especially if a worker insists on claiming benefits you don’t believe they’re entitled to.

If possible, form a team to handle complaints. This expert team will help workers understand classification. They can also help with assessments and internal audits.


7. Work with a PEO

Perhaps the best thing you can do when it comes to avoiding employee misclassification is to work with a knowledgeable professional employer organization. They can assist you with independent contractor classification. They’ll also review contracts and ensure compliance with the law.

Talk to the experts, and get one step ahead of employee misclassification.


7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Compliance

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