Worried About Unemployment Claims …


Dear Steve,

As a smaller (five full time employees) we face a common problem with our occasional fire restoration jobs. We’ll be booked pretty solid and then bam! in comes a big fire loss (or even worse two!) and the adjusters want immediate action. So we hire part-time, on-call workers. But I worry about eventual unemployment claims. What did you do in this situation?

At Times Worried in Tampa

Dear At Times,

Yep, been there, done that! Two ideas:

1. Talk with any friends you have in the “temporary help” field. My guess is these folks have something in writing with their workers that keeps them legally from filing unemployment against either the parent agency or the companies that they work for on a TEMPORARY basis.

2. No surprise here. Talk to your lawyer. Then report back here and let everyone mooch off of the answers that you paid for! Despite my “mooching” joke, if At Times is kind enough to post his or her results here, puhleeeease don’t blindly follow them. Remember that employment laws vary wildly from state to state. No one, including me, likes spending money on lawyers. But they can be one of the best business investments you will ever make. And sounds like At Time’s excellent question on “on-call” help liability would be a smart thing to investigate for each and every one of us. So keep us posted …


P.S. Some of our SFS members have been using temp agencies. However, we found that when we went through a temp service the employee’s loyalty was to them, not to us. So instead we formed a corps of people and paid them what the total per hour would have been to a temp service, which meant they were making a lot of money per hour.

Also the temp service kept sending us different people. While it is true that fire restoration is not exactly rocket science, it is better to use trained people consistently. And speaking of that, when you attend SFS you will receive dozens of training procedures dedicated to fire and water damage restoration.

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