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Global Work Glossary

Lost in a maze of global employment jargon? Find your way out with our handy collection of work and HR terminology

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What is Co-Employment?

Co-employment is a relationship between two or more businesses where they share legal and management responsibilities for employees. It typically involves a client company and a professional employer organization (PEO), where the PEO handles HR tasks, payroll, benefits administration, and compliance, while the client company directs the employees’ day-to-day activities and business operations.

Structure and Function

In a co-employment arrangement, the PEO becomes the employer of record for tax purposes and is responsible for administrative duties related to employment such as issuing paychecks and managing employee benefits. The client company retains control over work assignments, operational management, and company culture. This partnership allows businesses to outsource complex HR tasks and focus more on their core operations.

Benefits and Challenges

The benefits of co-employment include reduced administrative burdens, access to better benefits for employees due to the PEO’s bargaining power, and improved compliance with labour laws and regulations. However, challenges can arise in clarifying roles and responsibilities between the PEO and the client company, and there can be potential issues with employee loyalty and culture integration.

Legal Considerations

It’s crucial for businesses engaged in co-employment to clearly define the scope of responsibilities and liabilities in their contract with the PEO. They must also ensure that the arrangement complies with local and federal employment laws to avoid legal pitfalls related to worker classification, tax obligations, and benefits provision.

Co-employment can be a strategic choice for companies looking to streamline their operations and gain access to high-quality HR services without maintaining a large in-house HR department. As businesses grow and navigate complex employment landscapes, understanding and effectively managing co-employment relationships become increasingly important.

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