Work First Pro Tips #1: Always Control the Dispatch of Your Temporary Employees

“Okay, just this once” you tell your client as you hang up the phone.  The client had called to let you know they had directly called one of your temporary associates because they had an after-hours need and didn’t want to bother you, but they wanted to do the right thing and turn in a time-card for the hours worked.  It all seems innocent, and you think the client is doing the right thing by turning in the time-card so you can bill for the hours.  This simple little exchange has now set a precedent that you will come to regret…

True Story: A construction company was in need of some manpower for construction clean up. They called their go-to staffing company who had just what the construction company was looking for. A temporary employee was sent to the construction site to fill the need. As the project progressed, the construction company had an off and on need for this particular temporary employee.  On one occasion the construction company had telephoned the temporary employee directly for a day of work, but they dutifully turned in a time-card at the end of the week.  The time-card was accepted by the staffing company who wanted to bill for those hours.

Later, the construction company once again directly called the temporary employee, but this time instead of construction clean up, the supervisor at the construction site instructed the temporary employee that work needed to be done on the roof. As the day wore on, an accident occurred. The temporary employee fell off the roof and died as a result of his injuries.

The construction company reported the claim to the staffing company.  The staffing company and their insurer denied the claim due to the fact that they did not dispatch the employee and even if they had, would never allow an employee on a roof.  Unfortunately, because of past precedent where the staffing company had allowed this customer to directly call a temporary employee that the staffing company then covered, the denial was overturned at hearing.

In what should’ve been an open-and-shut case, they were forced to honor a death claim that could have been denied if the staffing company had maintained complete control of the dispatch of their temporary employees.  One seemingly innocent action by the staffing company to accept a time-card without dispatching the employee cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pro Tip:  Never under any circumstance accept a time-card for an employee you did not dispatch.  It is also important to coach your temporary employees to never accept a direct dispatch, and to always inform you if a client reaches out directly.  Clients that try to circumvent your rules should be counseled and/or put on your ‘do not staff’ list.

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