You’ve probably heard about the recent California law that’s changing how the state categorizes workers as employees versus independent contractors. Under this new law, a worker is classified as an employee if the hiring company can control what and how they work on particular tasks. Employee relationships are often seen as indefinite, and they are offered benefits such as minimum wage and overtime pay.
Independent contractors, on the other hand, are free from the direction of the hiring company, meaning the hiring company cannot control how they perform the assigned tasks. Independent contractors also perform work that is outside the hiring company’s typical business practices. Finally, they are part of an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work they perform for the hiring company.
Managed service providers in California — and in other states with similar laws — will need to make sure they comply with this new rule, as well as other labor laws and safety regulations. That’s where field service management (FSM) comes in. FSM platforms can help you oversee tech pools of independent contractors and track of necessary data to prove regulatory compliance.
Field Service Management Platforms & Regulatory Compliance
One of the biggest ways FSM platforms facilitate regulatory compliance is through oversight. For example, some platforms offer GPS tracking which can determine a worker’s location and timing, so you know they’re where they should be when they should be there. This feature can also track the number of hours worked.
Similarly, FSM platforms can help technicians improve their efficiency while ensuring proper documentation. The tool can walk field workers through the steps required for a procedure, noting when to obtain necessary signatures and readings that could otherwise be forgotten during a complicated deployment.
Field service management platforms also offer the benefit of housing the results of tool calibration readings and other necessary on-the-job checks. Not only is this information important to document for compliance reasons, but it’s also important for the technicians to have readily available while in the field. A tool that’s improperly calibrated can cause major problems for workers as well as the project overall.
Field technicians have a lot on their mind, the least of which is often paperwork. FSM platforms keep track of the paperwork so that all quotes, statements of work and other important documentation is all in one place. This way the technician doesn’t have to worry about remembering to gather paperwork before leaving for the job site but will always have it on hand.
Finally, field service management platforms also help improve transparency. Transparency is becoming quite a buzzword in today’s world—and for good reason. Businesses are expected to be open and honest about everything, which can be difficult without oversight and proper documentation.
Between documentation, performance data and GPS tracking, FSM platforms give your field technicians the tools needed to practice transparency. Field technicians can also take photos and videos throughout the installation process and upload them to the FSM platform so everyone — including you, the technician, and the client — can have an up-to-date service history. Not only does this record build trust with the client but it can also help you quickly and cost-effectively respond to regulatory audits when needed.
Complying with California Assembly Bill 5 & Other Labor Laws
The recent changes in California law may help workers receive important benefits — but it could also change how managed service providers hire, onboard and manage field technicians.
By capturing the data mentioned above, FSM platforms can help you more easily manage your tech pool — whether it consists of employees or independent contractors. This data can also ensure the safe and efficient completion of IT deployments and other projects.
Even if you’re outside of California and this change doesn’t apply to you, it’s always good to evaluate your field service management platform and make sure it’s doing everything you want it to do. An effective FSM platform is a critical component of ensuring not only regulatory compliance but also the success of your clients’ deployments.
Kinettix, for example, has its own FSM tool that ensures we stay compliant and provide transparency to our clients. We also help global managed service providers and IT services companies manage their instances of platforms like WorkMarket and Field Nation to scale as resource demands fluctuate. For more on our field services management services, click here. You can also contact us for a consultation.