For most businesses, hiring independent contractors is an integral part of their expansion in Africa. Independent contractors are, in many ways, advantageous for companies: they require less commitment than traditional employees and can bring in specialised knowledge. But in the long run, converting contractors into full-time employees may be more beneficial for businesses. To make the switch, however, there are procedures and best practices that businesses must respect, since employees and contractors are two highly distinctive statuses.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about converting independent contractors into full-time employees.
As previously mentioned, employees and independent contractors each benefit from distinct legal statuses.
An employee is an individual who has been hired by a company on a permanent basis. Employees must respect a set working schedule, must do their work on premises decided by the employer, and may even be told how to carry out the work. In return, employees enjoy a set monthly salary with both mandatory and additional benefits.
An independent contractor, on the other hand, is a self-employed individual who takes on projects and charges an hourly fee or project-based rate. Contractors are given deadlines, but it is they who choose when, where and how they carry out the tasks assigned to them. Contractors do not enjoy benefits such as the 13th month, medical insurance coverage or any other allowances.
Unsure why you should consider converting an independent contractor into a full-time employee? The following reasons may help you make up your mind:
Your business needs to evolve as your company expands. Where before you might have needed an independent contractor for a few projects only, it may be that the workload has grown to the point that it now requires the attention of a full-time employee. Who better than to take on this role than the contractor who was already handling the project, and who understands it better than a new recruit would?
While some independent contractors are happy with their lifestyle, others may come to prefer the stability afforded by full-time employment. If your company does not make such an offer to an independent contractor who works with you, the person might just go to a competitor who is willing to offer them that opportunity. This loss of talent can be hard to take in, especially when it means a competitor now has the upper hand over you.
Copyright and intellectual property laws vary a lot across the African continent. Some companies that hire independent contractors may be surprised to find that the latter owns the rights to any work produced. This can prove to be problematic, especially when it comes to the distribution and scaling of the work. Companies may then prefer to take on a contractor as a full-time employee to avoid any such legal complications.
Employee misclassification is a serious offence across all of Africa. It is a form of abuse that happens when a contractor takes on the role of an employee without receiving any of the benefits a full-time employee would habitually enjoy. If your company is found guilty of employee misclassification, you may be subjected to fines, to hiring sanctions, and your employer image may be damaged. Converting an independent contractor into a full-time employee can help circumvent this risk.
While companies are not legally obliged to pay any benefits to independent contractors, this does not mean that contractors are the most cost-effective labour choice. In fact, hiring contractors may prove to be costlier as they charge per hour or per project.
Would you like for an independent contractor to brainstorm with your team while they carry out the work assigned to them? Would you like to check in on them every now and then? Converting a contractor into an employee allows you more control over the way they do the work.
Businesses should follow these steps to ensure that the switch from contractor to an employee is compliant with local labour laws:
This step is especially applicable to international contractors. You must verify beforehand if the international contractor can become a full-time employee in the African country you are located. This habitually depends on the nature of the work the person carries out.
Once you have determined that a contractor can legally be converted into a full-time employee, you must make them an official offer. This employment offer should include working hours, a proposed salary, leaves as well as other mandatory benefits and working conditions set by the local labour laws.
Having some issues drafting an employment contract that is compliant with local labour laws? Africa HR Solutions can help you create compliant contracts and streamline the conversion process.
If the contractor you wish to hire as a full-time employee lives overseas, they are still bound by the labour laws of the country they live in. Your business should therefore ensure compliance with the labour laws of that country as well.
An important part of officialising the switch from contractor to employee is adding the worker to your payroll system. In this way, the worker’s overtime, bonuses and leaves may be calculated so that they are properly compensated. Taxes will also need to be withheld in adherence with local legislation.
Ensuring compliance with local laws is not a one-time-only task. It is a continuing process that requires routine checks to ensure that your company is always up-to-date with the latest changes in local legislation.
Africa HR Solutions can help you streamline the independent contractor conversion process. Through our Employer of Record services, we will take care of creating employment contracts, adding your new employee to the payroll system, calculating and withholding taxes as well as ensuring overall compliance with local legislation.
Ready to start an exciting new partnership with Africa HR Solutions? Get in touch with our team of experts now.
Grant Geraghty is the longest-serving member of the Africa HR team. This resident subject matter expert and client champion is responsible for gaining a deep understanding of our clients’ unique HR needs in Africa and providing tailored solutions that align with their business objectives. Grant collaborates closely with our clients to ensure that their requirements are properly implemented, providing ongoing support and guidance throughout the process.
Grant brings a wealth of experience to his role, having served as Africa HR’s longest-serving employee. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a major in Economics and Business Finance, from the University of Natal in South Africa. Additionally, he has completed a certification program in Payroll and Tax Administration from the University of Cape Town, further enhancing his expertise in HR operations and compliance.
His commitment to delivering exceptional service and his extensive knowledge of HR in Africa make him an invaluable member of the Africa HR team.
Kevina Takoordyal has a BA Hons Business Management from the University of Glamorgan, UK, with MBA in leadership and Innovation, MBA General, PMP Certified, and Agile Scrum Master. She currently works as the Head of Operations at Africa HR Solutions Ltd with more than 20 years of proven leadership capabilities in Operations, Business Development, People Management, Process Optimization, and Project Management in the Financial Services, BPO, Banking Industry, and Heath Care Industry. In Senior leadership roles with an international footprint across Europe working and extensive Pan- African experience from a compliance, finance, and operations angle, Kevina comes across with a panoply of cross-functional skills. Kevina also serves on a few Boards, Non-Independent Executive at MioD and for NGOs on a voluntary basis, a coach and mentor to aspiring female leaders across Africa and Mauritius.
Kevina is a firm believer in Servant Leadership with a strong focus and commitment to uplifting others, with the ability to deliver through a highly engaged – diverse team, and works towards consistently synergistic value creation. While being a focused and adaptive thinker and Kevina is actively participating in panel discussions on Innovation, CX, Digital transformation.
Kevina serves as Project Assessor for the National Youth upskilling program. She has been recognized as Global Talent in a few companies, Ceridian, and International SOS Ltd whereby she has been awarded a few scholarships and had the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Vice President in the US. Award Winner in various fields and at a national level and recognized including Super Achiever Leader Award in Africa in 2016, Awarded Africa Women Leader 2018.
Viloshna is an experienced finance professional with 18 years of expertise in strategic financial planning, financial analysis, cash flow management, systems and controls implementation, financial reporting, and continuous process improvements. She currently serves as Head of Finance & Business Support, where she has successfully automated and leveraged the financial reporting system capabilities to ensure efficient company operations.
Viloshna’s background includes senior roles in a multinational pharmaceutical company and a large listed Mauritian conglomerate. Her meticulous attention to detail and strategic thinking have streamlined financial processes, making her a valuable addition to any finance team. Viloshna is a qualified finance professional with an FCCA qualification and an MBA, bringing valuable expertise to any organization.
In her current role, Viloshna leads the company’s Treasury and Payments function, including the fulfillment of the company’s cross-border payments into Africa. With her strong educational background and extensive experience, Viloshna consistently demonstrates her ability to optimize financial operations, minimize risks, and improve profitability. Her expertise in financial reporting and process improvements make her a valuable asset to any organization.
A qualified lawyer who joined Africa HR Solutions in July 2020, Mark Du Preez has experience working in private practice for a reputable law firm in South Africa. He also played commercially focused roles at a leading private bank, wealth management company, and outsourcing firm in South Africa and Mauritius.
Mark has played a pivotal role in Africa HR Solution’s risk mitigation strategy, which positively impacted P&L performance over the years.
He currently leads the Partnerships function of the company including relationships and oversight with in-country partners (ICPs) across Africa.
Alex has more than 15 years of experience in the global, strategic development of both enterprise and consumer brands in categories including technology, transport, enterprise software, entertainment, and travel.
With experience in roles on both agency and corporate side, he has worked across international brands and has led the development and execution of multi-discipline campaigns across EMEA, NORAM and Asia Pacific.
His focus is on driving meaningful business impact through brand differentiation and building high-functioning, digitally oriented, and analytically driven capabilities. He is motivated by working with, and developing dynamic people, teams, and organizations.
He leads, manages, develops and mentors the Key Account Management department, including line management responsibility for the team of Key Account Managers and Key Account Administrator who represent the Company as the primary communication link between all relevant stakeholders, including clients, third party in-country partners and internal functions.
Originally from Mauritius, he holds bachelor’s degrees in International Business, Finance and Management from the University of Nevada, Reno.