What Is an Employer of Record?

Updated October 2, 2023
11 min read
What Is an Employer of Record?


Beyond the traditional employer-employee dynamics, professional relationships are evolving, and the concept of the employer of record is becoming invaluable. But what is an employer of record? This article dives into the heart of the matter and explores the main functions and benefits of this type of employer.

Defining an Employer of Record

An employer of record (EOR) is a third-party entity that undertakes the responsibility of all formal employment tasks for a company, functioning almost like an external human resources department.

For instance, consider a U.S. company expanding its operations overseas. This company might engage an EOR to manage the complex international labor laws, ensuring seamless operations abroad. In this capacity, the employer of record shoulders the weight of all the administrative duties connected with staff employment, offering significant relief to the company.

The employer of record ensures compliance with intricate laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the United States. This act specifies standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment. By complying with these regulations, the employer of record helps companies steer clear of legal pitfalls and maintain a harmonious employer-employee relationship. 

In essence, the employer of record serves as an instrumental player in a company's legal and HR apparatus, effectively easing the compliance burden that comes with staff employment.

Responsibilities and tasks

The essence of an employer of record lies in the management of various employee-related tasks on behalf of the businesses they partner with. These tasks are critical, spanning from the financial to the legal realm, and ensuring they're executed flawlessly is part of the employer of record's essential duties. 

An employer of record is tasked with:

  • Payroll processing: Ensuring that employees of record are paid timely and accurately.

  • Tax contributions: Managing and submitting all the necessary tax contributions for each employee.

  • Insurance: Administering both employee insurance benefits and employer insurance requirements.

  • Compliance with labor laws: Ensuring adherence to various labor laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to avoid legal issues or penalties.

  • Employee benefits: Managing and administering employee benefits such as vacation days, retirement plans, and healthcare benefits.

The expansive responsibility of an employer of record presents businesses with multiple benefits. Chiefly, it provides businesses more room to focus on their own specialties as they can trust their employer to handle these tasks for them.

Benefits of Using an Employer of Record

The benefits of collaborating with an employer of record are rich and varied, with a host of both general and sector-specific advantages. Predominantly, the following key benefits stand out:

  1. Risk mitigation: By design, an employer of record takes over the multitude of risks that surround employee management. This includes everything from employment legality issues to tax compliance, providing a blanket of protection to the parent company.

  2. Compliance assurance: There are numerous laws that govern employment practices. An employer of record assumes full responsibility for adhering to these complex regulations, ensuring that the company stays compliant.

  3. Administrative relief: Partnering with an employer of record equates to sharing the burden of time-consuming administrative duties. This allows management to shift its focus from routine tasks to value-driven, strategic growth initiatives.

  4. Cost-effectiveness: An employer of record handles all human resources-related expenses, such as payroll taxes and employee benefits. Consequently, companies save substantially in terms of both financial and human resources, making the partnership cost-effective.

Break it all down, and you can see that the tangible benefits of teaming up with an employer of record outweigh the costs. An employer-of-record partnership not only streamlines operations but also significantly bolsters the growth aspect of businesses.

Situations Where You Need an Employer of Record

Understanding when to tap into the extensive services provided by an employer of record can be a game-changer for your business. Particularly in intricate situations, this employer can facilitate business operations and ensure legal compliance. Here are common scenarios where this person becomes near indispensable:

  • International expansion: Venturing into global markets brings a plethora of legal obligations that may be difficult to decipher. An employer of record, especially one with international capabilities, can streamline this complex process, allowing you to manage compliance with regional labor laws effectively.

  • Remote employees: The rise of the remote work culture has blurred geographical boundaries, but it also complicates legal and tax compliance. Hiring an employer of record who understands these complexities can significantly iron out these potential wrinkles.

  • Contract employees: Businesses that rely heavily on contract workers often grapple with the intricate administrative tasks that come along. An employer of record can shoulder these responsibilities, freeing businesses from these burdens.

By leveraging the services of an employer of record in these complex scenarios, businesses not only ensure strict adherence to laws and regulations but also derive substantial employer-of-record benefits, such as risk mitigation and administrative relief. Ensuring smooth sailing even in tumultuous waters is what makes having an employer of record on your side a crucial business strategy.

Factors To Consider When Choosing the Employer of Record

Selecting an employer of record is an important decision that should be based on a comprehensive analysis of potential candidates. Key factors to consider include the employer of record's adherence to compliance history both locally and globally, the range of services offered, the firm's reputation, and the employer's capabilities in handling international engagements. It's also beneficial to explore if the employer of record has strong partnerships with local entities in your desired markets.

How To Sign a Staffing Agency Contract With an Employer of Record?

The process of signing a contract with an employer of record involves clear communication of responsibilities and expectations. A staffing agency contract typically defines these terms, thus forging a transparent and harmonious business relationship. 

The contract should outline services the employer of record will provide, related fees, workplace safety responsibilities, and other sundry terms. Navigating these contracts can be complex, but Lawrina, a reliable legal tech ecosystem, can provide a wealth of templates and expert legal assistance to facilitate this process.

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Contextualizing what is an employer of record sheds light on its significant role in modern business landscapes. From simplifying administration tasks to maintaining compliance and offering a smoothened path for globalization and remote working, the employer-of-record benefits are strikingly clear. If your business situation leverages these benefits, moving towards an employer-of-record model can indeed be a strategic decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What legal liabilities does an employer of record undertake?

As an employer of record, the entity assumes numerous legal responsibilities. These include, but are not limited to, adhering to labor laws, managing payroll taxes, handling employment contracts, and overseeing employee benefits. By accepting these duties, the employer of record helps insulate the business from many operational risks associated with employee management, making it a vital asset to any company.

How does an employer of record function differently from a staffing agency?

Although an employer of record and a staffing agency may seem similar, they serve distinct roles within a business framework. A staffing agency primarily concentrates on identifying and positioning talent within the company. 


On the other hand, an employer of record carries the weight of legal and administrative tasks that arise once the talent is onboard. This includes managing employee contracts, ensuring benefits compliance, and dealing with payroll issues, highlighting the fundamental contrast between the two.

What are the potential pitfalls of employing an employer of record?

Without a doubt, there are a host of benefits that come with using an employer of record. However, like all business relationships, it's not without potential downsides. 


One possible risk might be a perceived loss of control over human resources issues and employee relations since these are managed by the employer of record. Furthermore, differences in company values between the business and the employer could potentially lead to discord, so it's essential to solve all the disputes before entering into an agreement.