Employer of Record 101

A Comprehensive Guide to Using an Employer of Record (EOR)

Streamline your HR processes, access global talent, ensure compliance and scale your remote team easily using an employer of record. Find out how.

A Comprehensive Guide to Using an Employer of Record (EOR)


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Are you looking to expand your business globally and tap into a diverse talent pool? Look no further: an employer of record (EOR) is the perfect solution for your unique business needs. 

Through this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover the benefits of EOR services, their evolution, and how to select the right EOR provider, ensuring your business thrives with a seamless global workforce management experience.

What Is an Employer of Record?

An employer of record is a third-party organization that takes on the legal designation of an employer for a workforce, providing oversight of HR responsibilities, executing employment contracts, and ensuring adherence to local employment regulations. They provide a cost-effective solution for companies looking to expand their operations into new markets.

EOR services are designed to help businesses expand their reach across international borders, offering various services such as managing payroll, taxes, and benefits for a distributed workforce, including international workers. 

By utilizing EOR services, companies can free up valuable time and resources typically spent on managing payroll and HR tasks, enabling them to focus on their core business objectives.

An EOR takes over the following responsibilities:

Legal employer

As the legal employer, an EOR assumes the responsibility of managing HR duties and overseeing the workforce while the client company maintains control of day-to-day operations. 

This arrangement allows businesses to legally hire full-time workers in other countries, run payroll, administer benefits, onboard employees, and manage international contractors without becoming entangled in the complexities of foreign labor laws and regulations.

Employment contracts

The EOR is responsible for maintaining employment contracts with employees, ensuring adherence to legal regulations and proper documentation. 

By holding the employment contracts, the EOR can ensure compliance with local labor laws and streamline the hiring process for the client company.

Compliance with local employment laws

One of the key responsibilities of an EOR is to ensure compliance with local employment laws and regulations, including tax laws. This involves managing payroll, taxes, and benefits administration. 

The EOR is also responsible for adhering to employment laws regarding hiring, firing, and other employment responsibilities. This ensures the client company is in compliance with local labor regulations and reduces the risk of any costly fines or lawsuits.

The Evolution of Employer of Record Services

A person holding a globe, evolution, global talent pool

EOR services have come a long way since their inception, which can be traced back to the 1960s. The first EORs allowed US companies to hire across state lines by outsourcing certain employer functions to third parties. Initially focused on payroll processing, EOR services have evolved, expanding into comprehensive HR management roles.

Payroll processing

In its early stages, EOR services focused on payroll processing, and indeed that is still a main benefit of working with an EOR. The importance of accurate and timely payroll services cannot be overstated, as they guarantee that employees are compensated correctly and in a timely fashion, thereby preserving employee morale and loyalty and upholding local employment regulations.

Expansion into HR management

As EOR services evolved, they began to include comprehensive HR management, offering support in areas such as employment regulations, payroll and tax management, strategic consultation, employee onboarding, and other HR activities. 

With EOR services handling complex HR tasks, businesses can focus on their core operations and growth strategies, knowing that their workforce is being managed effectively and in compliance with local labor laws. It’s these key benefits that have led to the rise and sophistication of EORs. In fact, the global EOR market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2022–2028.  

EOR vs. PEO: Key Differences

Table about the difference between PEO and EOR

While both EOR and professional employer organization (PEO) services help businesses manage their workforce, there are some key differences between the two in terms of legal responsibility and service offerings. We go into more detail about the differences and how to choose between them in our article PEO vs. EoR: What’s the Difference? But in brief, the main differences are: 

Legal responsibility

A key distinction between EOR and PEO services lies in their legal responsibility for employees. An EOR takes on full legal responsibility for employees, ensuring that all employer-related responsibilities and tasks are fulfilled on behalf of the client company. 

On the other hand, a PEO shares legal responsibility with the client company, entering into a co-employment arrangement where both parties handle certain aspects of HR and compliance.

This difference in legal responsibility can impact the level of control and liability a business has over its workforce.

Service offerings

Another key difference between EOR and PEO services is their range of service offerings. EOR services primarily focus on HR tasks and compliance, ensuring adherence to local employment laws and regulations, payroll processing, and statutory benefits administration.

PEO services, on the other hand, generally provide a broader selection of services, including more comprehensive benefits administration, risk management, and strategic HR planning, depending on the specific needs of the client company. 

When choosing between EOR and PEO services, it is essential to consider the specific service offerings and how they align with your business requirements.

Benefits of Using an Employer of Record

Utilizing an employer of record can bring numerous advantages to your business, including access to international talent, reduced compliance risks, and streamlined business operations. We delve into each in more detail below:

Access to international talent

EOR services enable companies to tap into the rich pool of international talent without the need to establish a local entity in the target country. This allows businesses to broaden their workforce and recruit top-tier talent from around the globe, filling skill gaps and addressing talent shortages in specific industries.

By utilizing an EOR service, companies can hire international employees and manage their diverse workforce more efficiently, ensuring compliance with local labor laws and regulations and fostering a more inclusive work environment. 

EORs provide a cost-effective solution for international expansion, especially for quickly scaling a remote or distributed team.

Reduced compliance risks

One of the key benefits of using an EOR service is the reduced compliance risks associated with managing a global workforce. EORs are well-versed in the local employment laws and regulations where they operate, ensuring that your business remains compliant in all the countries where you have employees.

By partnering with an EOR, you can minimize the risk of non-compliance issues—which could result in monetary sanctions, penalties, and legal proceedings—and focus on growing your business confidently.

Streamlined business operations

EOR services can streamline business operations by handling HR tasks, allowing companies to focus on their core business functions. By outsourcing international payroll processing, benefits administration, and compliance management to an EOR, businesses can save time and resources, enabling them to concentrate on strategic growth initiatives and improving their products and services.

In addition, EOR services can support companies in managing independent contractors, providing tailored solutions that ensure compliance and efficient administration.

By outsourcing HR tasks to a trusted EOR provider, businesses can focus on their core objectives, knowing that their workforce is being managed effectively and in compliance with local laws.

Selecting the Right Employer of Record Service Provider

Employer of record reaching for a red binder

When selecting the right EOR, it is essential to consider factors such as industry expertise, global coverage, and customer support. By evaluating these criteria, you can make an informed decision on the best EOR provider that aligns with your business needs and supports your international expansion or talent acquisition plans.

In the following sections, we will dig deeper into these key considerations.

Industry expertise

Choosing an EOR provider with experience and expertise in your specific industry is crucial to ensuring a proper understanding of your business needs and the unique requirements of your sector. An EOR with industry expertise will have invaluable insights into the challenges and complexities of your industry, enabling them to deliver more effective solutions and services tailored to your business.

Global coverage

Selecting an EOR provider with extensive global coverage is essential to support your international plans. A provider with a strong international presence can help you navigate the complexities of local employment laws and regulations in multiple countries, ensuring that your business remains compliant and can access the best talent worldwide.

Also, having a single EOR provider with global coverage simplifies your administrative processes. Instead of dealing with multiple EORs and legal entities in several countries, you can have a centralized HR, payroll, and compliance management solution across different locations.

Moreover, a global EOR provider can offer insights into more local markets, helping you make informed decisions about entering new territories.

Customer support

Excellent customer support is a crucial factor to consider when selecting an EOR provider. A provider with responsive and efficient customer support ensures that your queries and concerns are addressed promptly, allowing for smooth communication and effective problem resolution.

Look for an EOR provider offering multiple communication channels, such as phone, email, live chat, social media, and self-service support, to ensure your needs are met and your business runs smoothly.

Managing Independent Contractors With EOR Services

If, instead of hiring international employees, you intend to hire workers as contractors, an EOR can provide tailored solutions for managing independent contractors. 

Avoid misclassification risks

By working with an EOR, businesses can ensure that their independent contractors are properly classified under local regulations, minimizing the risk of non-compliance issues and associated penalties. 

Misclassification risks refer to the potential legal and financial implications of erroneously classifying employees as independent contractors. Avoiding misclassification is crucial for both employers and employees. For the employer, it prevents legal sanctions, financial penalties, and damage to the company’s reputation. For the worker, it means they get the compensation package they expect and deserve.

Customized EOR solutions for contractors

EOR solutions can be customized to manage contractors effectively, ensuring compliance and streamlined administration. By providing a centralized hub for all contractor-related activities, including contract management, onboarding, payroll, and compliance, EOR services can help businesses optimize their contractor management processes.

In addition, contractors can benefit from competitive compensation packages and receive payments in their preferred currency, further enhancing their experience and satisfaction with the client company.

Final Thoughts

Utilizing an employer of record can offer significant advantages for businesses looking to expand globally and manage a diverse workforce. With EOR services handling the complexities of HR tasks, compliance, and contractor management, companies can focus on their core objectives.

By selecting the right EOR provider after considering industry expertise, global coverage, and customer support, businesses can confidently navigate the challenges of international expansion and tap into the vast pool of global talent. 

While Near isn’t classed as an EOR, we can handle the tasks you would use an EOR for, including hiring, issuing contracts and administering payroll and benefits—but, unlike an EOR, we can also find you the talent to hire! We specialize in finding US companies highly skilled remote workers based in Latin America.    

While opening up your talent search worldwide opens up numerous possibilities (and is made all the easier by using an EOR), there are many benefits to focusing your search on Latin America. To learn more, explore our US vs. Latin America Salary Guide or our guide to nearshore outsourcing to Latin America.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of an employer of record?

An employer of record can enable you to hire employees from different countries even if your physical presence is not established there; for instance, a UK-based company can hire employees in the US with such a service.

This service can benefit companies looking to expand their workforce without having to establish a physical presence in the country. It can also help reduce the administrative burden of hiring employees in different countries and ensure compliance with local labor laws and regulations.

What is the difference between an EOR and PEO?

An EOR handles legal and administrative responsibilities, while a PEO provides a wider range of HR services.

With an EOR, your workers are on their payroll. With a PEO, there is a co-employment arrangement between your company, the employees, and the PEO—but you remain solely responsible for complying with local labor laws.

What are some benefits of using an employer of record company?

Using an employer of record provides access to international talent, reduces compliance risks, and streamlines business operations, all of which benefit the employer. 

These advantages significantly benefit companies expanding into new markets or hiring international remote workers. Employers can access a larger talent pool, reduce the time and cost associated with onboarding, and ensure compliance with local labor laws. 

What factors should be considered when selecting an EOR service provider?

When choosing an EOR service provider, it is important to evaluate their industry knowledge, international reach, and customer service. This will ensure the best possible solution for your business needs.

You also, of course, first want to consider whether working with an EOR is the best choice for your situation. Make sure that a PEO, an outsourcing firm, or hiring internally wouldn’t be better choices.   

How can EOR services help manage independent contractors?

EOR services can help manage independent contractors by providing tailored solutions to ensure proper classification and mitigate misclassification risks.

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