As we navigate the biggest nursing workforce shortage of our time, staffing challenges continue to be a pressing topic, especially the nuances of clinician classification. Now more than ever, having control over staffing and protecting your community from risk and vulnerability is critical.
Per diem nurses are employees, not independent entrepreneurs.
In the past few years of overwhelming demand for per diem nurses, many have become lax about paperwork, or have been misinformed by staffing agencies that cut corners in classifying nurses as 1099 contractors.
Even for the most flexible schedules and short-term assignments, 1099 status is the wrong way to classify nursing professionals. Calling nurses independent contractors is misaligned in that nurses don’t run their own businesses, but it’s also out of compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks.
The risk to healthcare facilities is real and it can jeopardize your business. Worker misclassification for nurses is not a small detail or a bookkeeping issue; it goes to the heart of how healthcare settings treat employees and keep the doors open.
Worker misclassification makes facilities vulnerable to lawsuits and fines.
Labeling clinicians as 1099 contractors has far-reaching, harmful implications on healthcare facilities, as the Department of Labor has begun to take a closer look at misclassification of healthcare workers. In fact, it recently sued a Pennsylvania-based operator of nursing facilities for $19 million of unpaid overtime. If your facility is on the wrong side of this issue, you could be next to get hit with fines and lawsuits.
Misclassifying nurses as 1099 workers also makes it harder for facilities to run a thriving care setting and may contribute to higher turnover. Which nurses are likely to feel more respected and supported: W2 employees who receive overtime pay and other employer benefits or 1099 contractors who are unprotected by the employer safety net?
The answer is obvious.
A recent survey found that 34% said there is a lack of respect for the work they do, and 32% do not feel supported by their employers. Classifying nurses as W2 employees is a simple, win-win way to show nurses that your facility values them and are on their side.
Bolster your workforce with W2 classification.
Worker classification for nurses shouldn’t be treated as a debate, a choice, or a risk management issue. This is a matter of legal compliance and simple right and wrong.
When nurses are classified as 1099 contractors, they don’t qualify for federal minimum wage, overtime pay or workers’ compensation, which only serves to perpetuate harmful aspects of a nurse’s working life that have been exacerbated since the pandemic. With many nurses working over 70 hours a week, they already feel burnt out and financially squeezed.
When nurses have W2 status, they are part of a larger safety net. They qualify for overtime pay, unemployment insurance, workers comp insurance and other benefits. Their tax withholdings are managed for them throughout the year. Being classified as a 1099 contractor might make a nurse feel like they’re getting “paid extra,” but the risks aren’t worth it – and it’s against the law for facilities. Nursing is an employment relationship, not an independent business relationship between a contractor and a client.
The evolution of healthcare has been challenging over the past three years. Nurse shortages are our new normal and how we adapt and innovate to create sustainable healthcare environments takes flexibility and collaboration. When clinicians feel safer and more trusted, you will benefit from better employee retention and more profitable business.
With a shared interest in navigating these challenges, together we can reimagine a healthcare system where nurses and healthcare partners thrive.
To learn more about building a sustainable staffing model with connectRN, let’s connect.
connectRN is the leading nurse community reimagining a healthcare system where nurses and healthcare partners thrive. Created to provide nurses with flexible work opportunities, and help eradicate the healthcare staffing crisis, connectRN is a trusted advocate and workforce ally for nurses and healthcare partners alike.