Nonstandard and Contracted Work Arrangements: Data from the 2020 Annual Business Survey and Analysis of 2021 10-K Filings

What did GAO find?

A significant percentage of companies responding to the 2020 Annual Business Survey reported employing temporary, on-demand, part-time or contract workers. Thirty-three percent reported using “contractors, subcontractors, independent contractors or outside consultants” and 50 percent reported using part-time employees. The information sector has the highest percentage of companies reporting using contract workers (57%). The statistics reported for these types of workers in the survey cannot be generalized to all US companies.

The GAO’s review of a sample of the general annual financial statements (Form 10-Ks) submitted by S&P 500 companies in 2021 found that most companies refer to the use of public agreements. contract work. The GAO estimates that 89% of companies mention the use of contractors, and about 84% have discussed the risks associated with using their contractors — for example, reduced supervision, poor performance, or the risk of poor performance. The risk stems from contract staff performing critical activities (such as IT support). An estimated 65% discussed the use of contractual arrangements for services — such as IT support, human resources, or maintenance. Companies also cite factors that can increase labor costs. A small percentage mentioned workplace safety, wages and access to benefits, among other topics, clearly for sub-standard or contract workers.

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The information collected is not a comprehensive inventory of companies’ public disclosures of substandard and contractual work arrangements and the GAO review does not measure activities. reality of companies.

Why did GAO do this research?

The nature of the workforce is changing, and millions of U.S. workers hold substandard jobs (temporary, on-demand, or part-time) or work in the contract economy. Several studies indicate that employers are increasingly cutting back on business functions that were once managed internally, contributing to concerns about lower paid contract workers and reduced ability to stay in business. access benefits. Policymakers want to know how many workers are involved in such arrangements and the reported impacts on workplace safety, wages and access to benefits, and Other problems. And investors increasingly require public companies to disclose information about environmental, social and governance factors, including those related to working conditions.

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The GAO was asked to review available data showing companies’ use of substandard work agreements and certain contracts, and the reported impacts on topics such as workplace safety, wages and access to benefits. This report provides preliminary observations from the GAO analysis of the 2020 Annual Business Survey of approximately 300,000 companies with a response rate of approximately 68%, and a general sample of 80 annual reports (Table 1). 10-Ks form 2021) filed by companies on the S&P 500 index with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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For more information, contact Tom Costa at (202) 512-4769 or [email protected], or Michael Clements at (202) 512-8678 or [email protected]


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