Employee/Employer relationships

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JayneWonders

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Mar 22, 2021
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384
I started to put this comment in the Coronovirus thread, then thought, hey, may be worthy of its own thread.
@BetteTheRed , @Lastpointe - not sure if you are interested

One advantage of contractors, is you didn't have to pay severance, so you could go up & down with the change in demand or skill sets based on the projects or needs of the organization.

Have a bunch of deaths and empty beds in a LTC home, reduce the number of contractors. Numbers go up, bring contractors on. Well, at least that is the theory.

I always prefer investing in employees for anything operational and retraining.
Employees, though, especially small ones, have found that they can end up with stagnate employees that do not retrain well, and the cost to release them and get someone with the rights skills is too high.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Joined
May 28, 2014
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8,288
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Ontario
In more recent years, I noticed that many positions in the hospital which used to be 'full time, permanent staff' became 'part time' contract positions, or even 'full time' but still contract - ie fixed term, hourly rate, no benefits. If the position happened to be 'part-time, permanent' (which mine was) it paid a slightly higher hourly rate to compensate for the lack of benefits & vacation pay - but a certain number of weeks each year were designated to be taken as 'vacation' (ie unpaid). It seemed that as ongoing hospital funding became less predictable that the move to contract work became much more common.

Having had a long tenure there, I also noticed a clear shift away from an 'invest in your employees' ethic to one of people needing to scramble for things like education benefits. It had been a place that strongly supported its staff, and had many loyal long term staff - knowledge keepers & mentors. As the funding for positions changed, this too changed - workers too became less invested in the organization - it is a road that travels in both directions.
 

Mendalla

Eastern Lowland Gorilla
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May 2, 2014
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The Forest City
For what I do, I generally want employees. Maintaining our networks and other infrastructure requires continuity. My support team are both getting close to 6 years with me and I can't really see how we could have accomplished what we have using contractors.

Now, for specific projects that have a timeline and would distract my team from the nuts and bolts work, sure.

And I generally get a co-op student (this year's starts tomorrow) every summer now (four month contract) to help move some of our regular, annual projects like PC replacements along.

But for day-to-day keeping things running, employees for sure.
 

Lastpointe

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Jun 6, 2014
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4,419
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Toronto
Generally I think companies move to contract workers because if times get tough , they can just stop using them instead of the need to lay people off. Surprising things are off loaded in the hospital section. I get linens. It’s pretty simple to pick up, wash, sanitize and return. I am sad about food. It has stopped being, in general, a hospital nutritionist expense and is off loaded to prefab trays......
 

GordW

Church-Geek-Oramus
Joined
Jun 18, 2014
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1,885
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Grande Prairie
THere was a time where Grande Prairie prided itself on having such a high number of entrepreneurs. However digging deeer revealed that what was happening is that tradespeople working in the oil and gas sector were being encouraged or pressured to set up as independent contractors to do the same job they had been doing as employees. Then when the next bust came (as it does in a cyclical field like oil and gas) the company could simply end the contracts. It also ended any possible union issues and any drive to provide benefits. It was an easy sell in good times because as an independent contractor one could make big money when business was hot.....only when the turnaround came did many of those people realize how much more vulnerable they had become.
 

KayTheCurler

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Jun 12, 2014
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5,321
My son is on contract as a welder. When he was unable to get regular employment on the piipelines he set himself up as a company. So far he is doing ok - and is in great demand as he does excellent work.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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Jun 6, 2014
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It can certainly work, in certain high-skill, high demand jobs to the benefit of a smart entrepreneurial type.

But it largely benefits employers, who don't have to pay for benefits, sick leave, vacation, etc. And it seems to be concurrent with a lack of worker development programs.

I am sad about food. It has stopped being, in general, a hospital nutritionist expense and is off loaded to prefab trays......

That one actually makes me really mad. Not only is the food very substandard, but the "cafeteria", which used to be a great source for well-made, nutritious meals at a decent price, is now a mall food court with the predictable high fat, high sugar, high salt offerings.
 

BetteTheRed

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I agree. I get it is part of cost containment. But the whole thing is very dispiriting

It made me mad, many years ago, when the College outsourced cleaning and security, both of which used to be decent union-paying jobs. There was a little old lady, E, who had been there for 30 years. She lost any further pension benefits, her pay and benefits were both slashed. It was hard to look her in the eye.
 

ChemGal

One with keen eye
Joined
May 28, 2014
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13,964
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Edmonton
With my job, we discussed if I should just have my own business and be a contractor, but there would have been costs on my end, we were totally unsure how much work would actually be sent my way and it's simpler if I have a company computer, am tied into their network, etc. So they hired me on as a casual employee.

The issue, I make minimum wage on paper, they aren't really set up to pay by the work. Basically each file I create I charge an hour. If I go for day long training sessions though, I'm getting paid minimum wage. I have to watch how many hours I am actually doing as I need to stay within causal range. They have recently expanded tasks I do. We may have to reevaluate how I get paid in the future, not sure what will be arranged though. I could essentially be paid similarly, double on paper/charge 30 minute/file. Not sure how that would go over with HR though, doubling my pay on paper, they weren't really involved in the discussions of my pay structure.
 

JayneWonders

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Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
384
Note: as a contractor, my preference is to have the company supply a computer. Makes everyone's life a whole lot easier. I say that in response to your comments about the company computer(@ChemGal )

Being paid minimum wage with your skills is crazy. As a contractor, your bill rate is generally higher than an employee.
If you are in high demand, turning down jobs, then odds are your rate is too low (@KayTheCurler re your son).

As a contractor you always want to build up your nest egg, then, ensure your rate is sufficient to cover all items such as benefits,
 

ChemGal

One with keen eye
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
13,964
Location
Edmonton
Note: as a contractor, my preference is to have the company supply a computer. Makes everyone's life a whole lot easier. I say that in response to your comments about the company computer(@ChemGal )

Being paid minimum wage with your skills is crazy. As a contractor, your bill rate is generally higher than an employee.
If you are in high demand, turning down jobs, then odds are your rate is too low (@KayTheCurler re your son).

As a contractor you always want to build up your nest egg, then, ensure your rate is sufficient to cover all items such as benefits,
Minimum wage on paper is much lower than what my wage really works out to when doing my job. It's the training sessions where I end up very under paid, but that's not often. I've had 2 sets of 3 day sessions since being hired and then there's the watch a video type of sessions too - which I round up for. Ie. 20 mon video, 40 minute video in both cases I put down I worked an hour.

I'm also in an odd position in that if I wasn't here my job wouldn't exist. Those who are already employed would just need to be doing it, it's what happened before I convinced them to pay me to do it. There's also an agreement about if I'm feeling unwell others just do it.

If I was doing more than casual hours things would be different.
 

KayTheCurler

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Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
5,321
That one actually makes me really mad. Not only is the food very substandard, but the "cafeteria", which used to be a great source for well-made, nutritious meals at a decent price, is now a mall food court with the predictable high fat, high sugar, high salt offerings.

I recall the shock I felt when going to a newly renovated/expanded hospital to see a fast food outlet prominentlyfeatured. It didn't last long as there was public outrage. After a few years a prominent coffee shop got space in the food area.

Actual food available is very limited - salad, fruit salad, baked goods, burgers and chilli.
 

mgagnonlv

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Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
217
Location
Montréal (Québec, Canada)
There are a few advantages of contract work, like when work is cyclic or people can use their expertise in more than one place. The plumber you hire at home is one example. Contractors who help clean streets in Winter and work on highway construction in Summer are another example. But overall, having employees is much better in the long run: people "own" their business and become part of it. help improve the business, etc.

One issue with permanent jobs is disabused employees. One way to solve it is to have programs such as sabbaticals where a person could escape for 6-12 months and either see that they would be better somewhere else, or that it wasn't too bad after all, or learn from a new work environment. But in general, I think both the employee and the company benefit from workforce stability.

Besides that, there are long term effects of using too often people on contracts: lack of commitment. Up until 1980, our fathers worked for a single employer all their life. Then, people learned the hard way that they were disposable. Now, employers complain that they can't find new employees and that when they train some, they abandon ship as soon as there is a problem. "They can't face adversity", employers say. Well, if they were raised in a home with unstable work, they learned from experience that they are on their own and that they can't commit to an employer who won't commit to them. So our employers are now paying the price for the way employers a generation ago considered employees as disposable materials.
 

BetteTheRed

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Jun 6, 2014
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The plumber you hire at home is one example.

That is totally true. However, we have a relatively new employer in town, Redwood, which is completely focussed on building affordable housing in conjunction with the municipality. Now, generally, a company like this would act like a general contractor, hiring specialties like plumbing and electrical, on sub-contract. Not this place. They offer full-time jobs, with benefits, to all employees. It might be slightly less lucrative for the uber talented self marketing types, but it provides a secure stable income for a skilled worker.
 

Mendalla

Eastern Lowland Gorilla
Joined
May 2, 2014
Messages
34,030
Location
The Forest City
Not here!
Even my Dad changed jobs once, though he was in the same one for my entire life(civil servant). My current is only my second and looks like it will be my retirement job. In spite of the possibility of greater mobility, I am not sure the whole "new career every 10 years" that futurists used to bleat about really happened. If a person finds a good job at a place they like, as I have done, they will tend to stay put. With my experience, I know that I could probably find something. I am just not interested in a career move now and am even contemplating early retirement.
 
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