Newsletter Archive >> Fall 2009 >> Our People

Our People, your Place

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by J. Wilson Hershey, Ph.D., President

In today’s cost-conscious environment, everyone is being required to do more with less. This is most evident in the employee headcount reductions and restrictions that many companies face. Using temporary workers is one of the few ways that organizations can meet their business objectives while still controlling costs, but this solution comes with a number of challenges. Temporary workers can be considered co-employed and have to be managed in specific ways to avoid having them be viewed as employees from a legal standpoint.

One way that firms handle this risk is to limit the amount of time that a temporary worker is allowed to remain in a position. Typically, after 12 months, even the best temps need to be replaced to avoid the pitfall of having them viewed as an employee. So after you spend months training someone, they have to leave, and you get to do it again, wasting valuable time and money. And knowing that their days are numbered, temporary workers frequently start looking for other opportunities on their own before their contract expires.

Legal issues present an even more perilous problem than turnover. What criteria determine a worker’s status and how can you avoid the liabilities related to co-employment? The IRS has posed a series of questions that can help you decide if your company is at risk for co-employment complications. Known as the 20 Factor Test (see grapic below), the questions evaluate how much control the company has over a worker, and companies need to tread carefully to ensure their employment of temporary workers meet all the criteria.

At Lancaster Laboratories, we have a unique solution to your need for additional staff that protects you against the pitfalls of hiring temps. Our Professional Scientific Staffingsm has been specifically designed to provide a “non-permanent” workforce for one or more years with no worries about co-employment issues. We recruit, hire, train and manage these scientists, who work in your facility. They are Lancaster Laboratories employees, with all the benefits that our in-house, full-time employees enjoy. We’ve structured our program so the employment relationship is clear and consistent with the IRS 20 Factor guidance. In fact, we’re so certain that our model meets the co-employment test that we’ll guarantee it in our contract.

We’ve successfully implemented Professional Scientific Staffingsm programs at client facilities from California to Massachusetts and even in the EU, as clients have begun to see the advantages of having their scientific staff selected and managed by a company that has nearly 50 years of experience delivering laboratory services. Our proven track record in human resources best practices and the fact that Professional Scientific Staffingssm scientists are full-time employees of Lancaster Laboratories results in the highest quality staff and turnover rates that are dramatically lower than with traditional temporary employees. Our workers in your facility can cost you less than your own full-time employees, while providing a variable cost resource. We’ve been able to prove this by measuring productivity, turnaround time, quality, turnover and safety at Professional Scientific Staffingsm sites.

If you have the workload, but not the workforce, our Professional Scientific Staffingsm program can help increase capacity quickly without adding to fixed headcount. And our unique model has allowed us to help clients meet other resource challenges, too. Take the trend that’s emerging in some industries to focus on the core business and outsource any segments that aren’t directly related to that. Obviously, samples can be sent to Lancaster Laboratories’ facilities if an organization decides that laboratory testing isn’t germane to their core business, but there may be other considerations that aren’t met by traditional outsourcing. These include tight turnaround times, ability to work under your own quality systems and reluctance to share proprietary information with people outside the company. We’ve been able to address these needs by placing our scientists in client facilities.

For years, Lancaster Laboratories has used the tag line, “People Are The Chemistry” and nowhere is this more evident than our Professional Scientific Staffingsm program, where our highly motivated, efficient, well-trained scientists work solely on your projects at your location as trusted partners in achieving your company goals.