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Deel's new research and policy arm hones in on global employment

Deel has announced the creation of a new research and policy arm, the Deel Lab for Global Employment. The lab will bring experts and data together to enhance the discussion around global employment policy.

COVID-19, the prevalence of enterprise messaging apps and the rise in project management tools, has changed the way workers collaborate. They've allowed teams to run efficiently, regardless of their physical location. This is especially true for tech workers, where most jobs simply require a laptop and internet connection.

A new outlook on work has enabled companies to hire from a wider, global pool of talent and has given workers more international job opportunities. Deel states it embraces this new outlook, helping companies hire anyone, anywhere by simplifying worldwide compliance, onboarding, and payroll.

In the past three years, Deel has onboarded hundreds of thousands of employees and contractors from over 100 countries on behalf of 10,000 clients. The company states, the technological infrastructure is there to support this new way of working, but according to the company, what's missing is the policy infrastructure to help meet the needs of today's and tomorrows workforce.

To illustrate this point, Deel offers its customers the ability to hire and pay a company's workforce in other countries using Deel's licensed entities. This model is called employer of record, EOR.

EOR does not afford co-employer status to Deel's customers. As a result, EOR employees are denied certain benefits such as tax advantages on stock options and other specific benefits offered by the client company to their traditional employees, such as complementary pension plans.

Same is true for independent contractors (with the exception of legacy professions like doctors and lawyers) - they're denied benefits reserved for traditional employees, and they're often not recognised by third parties such as banks, so they can't get access to home loans and other privileges.

Increased worker and company demands for flexibility meet major roadblocks when it comes to global employment policies. To date, the discussion has been mostly anecdotal and not guided by global data, Deel states. According to the company, because Deel has so many insights on the modern-day workforce, its in a unique position to help other institutions embrace this new workplace paradigm.

Using Deel's and other employment data, plus machine learning, Deel's research arm can understand the populations in need of a new employment paradigm and start assessing how to better support them, the company states.

The lab aims to develop AI-powered compliance technologies and contribute to the policy discourse on rights for global workers, including EOR employees and independent contractors. It will be exploring ways to expand the reach of benefits reserved for traditional employees benefits like healthcare, workplace insurance, compensation, and taxation.

More specifically, the lab will take on two key efforts:

  • AI-powered compliance technology: Develop AI-powered algorithms to identify the misclassification of workers in multiple jurisdictions. These algorithmic models will integrate local labor laws and jurisprudence to help companies better assess their standing amidst current global labor regulation.
  • Data-driven policy guidance: Analyse Deel's and other organisations datasets, both to determine what different workforce populations need a new employment paradigm, and to make policy recommendations. For instance, the topic of giving contractors more benefits traditionally reserved for employees like sick days, paid time off, and incentive stock options - warrants more academic analysis, with data that supports specific policy recommendations.

The Deel Lab for Global Employment will connect a wide network of experts from academia and industry to contribute their insights and expertise. Deel has appointed Samuel Dahan, former EU official and Professor of law at Queens University and Cornell University, to chair the initiative.

Prof. Dahan is in the process of recruiting organisations to contribute to the labs effort. So far, the team includes Prof. Duncan Fairgrieve (King's Counsel, Paris Dauphine); Laura Becking (Partner, Global Employment, Orrick); Aymeric de Moncuit (EU Regulation Partner, Mayer Brown); Prof. David Restrepo Amariles (Professor, HEC Paris); Samuel Solomon and Jingyi Cui (PhD Candidates, Yale University) and Dean Alejandro Chetman (Dean, Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires).

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