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1685 : Definition of Joint Employers
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Memo 1685-1-2: Definition of Joint Employers TABLE OF CONTENTS
     JOINT EMPLOYERS DEFINED
     JOINT EMPLOYERS MUST COMPLY WITH EMPLOYMENT LAWS
     LEGAL CONSEQUENCES
     RELATED MEMOS/FORMS

QUESTIONS
What is the definition of joint employers?
Can several businesses be employers of one worker doing one job?
Must every joint employer comply with all employment laws that apply to a worker?
Can illegal conduct by one joint employer be the responsibility of another employer?
May a joint employer take credit for employee payments made by another employer?
How should the hours, wages, and overtime of a joint employee be calculated?
View all questions for this Memo

JOINT EMPLOYERS DEFINED

If two different businesses both hire or control the same employee, they may be joint employers. Joint employment is risky because each joint employer is responsible for events even when they do not have control.

Employers are joint employers if they meet two requirements:1

  • two separate businesses hire or control the same employee, and
  • each business has a relationship with the other business.
It's possible for several different businesses to be joint employers of a single employee. The greater the number of joint employers, the more difficult it is for each joint employer to meet its responsibilities and limit its liability.

        Note: For general information regarding the definitions of "employer" and "employee," read Memo 1680 Definition of Employer and Memo 1700 Definition of Employee.

    Requirement One: Hiring or Controlling Employee
    When one business hires an employee who also works for another business, that business may be a joint employer (if it also meets the second requirements discussed next). And, even if a business does not formally hire an employee who works for another business, the business still may be a joint employer if it exercises control over the employee.

    Although each case is different, employers may be joint employers if they control employees who also work for another business by:2

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