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oDesk Payroll

oDesk Payroll

Manage and pay W2 employees and 1099 contractors anywhere in the world

  • See work as it's done and pay only for verified hours
  • Stay compliant with IRS worker classification regulations and let us take care of paperwork and taxes
  • Simplified payments by credit card or ACH transfer

Staff better through oDesk

oDesk is the premier place to hire, manage and pay contractors online. With oDesk Payroll, we now support W-2 classified workers as well:

  • Reduce the risk of worker misclassification by working through oDesk's staffing agency
  • Pay only for hours worked and gain full visibility into how contractor time is spent
  • Provide your contractors with access to health and retirement benefits

Employers bringing their contractors to oDesk Payroll typically see costs fall 20% to 40% by leveraging oDesk's time and billing verification capabilities. Not only do you keep all the advantages of employing workers through a staffing agency, with oDesk Payroll you spend less and gain all the benefits of working through oDesk — increased productivity, visibility and collaboration.

Staffing agencies traditionally charge up to 26% of your costs to cover fees, payroll and taxes. Compare that to oDesk Payroll, where only 20% is spent on those charges and 80% goes to the contractor.

Ensure IRS Compliance

With oDesk's staffing agency as the employer of record, you:

  • Reduce or eliminate the risk of fines, penalties and interest accrual due to misclassification of contract workers
  • Reduce the risk of legal disputes and negative publicity from worker misclassification

Assume that your employee/contractor earns $20 per hour:

staffing agency
W2 through
oDesk Payroll
1099 through
Employer pays $27/hr $25/hr $22.22/hr
Taxes and fees $7 (26%) $5 (20% includes payroll taxes) $2.22
Contractor gets $20 $20 $20
Verified work? No Yes Yes


Who determines if the contractor should be classified as 1099 or W-2?

You will need to determine the worker classification based on the IRS guidelines, (located here) and other federal, state and local regulations. If you are interested in a professional assessment of how to classify contract workers, please contact us at for recommendations on services to assist with this decision. Once you have determined proper classification, oDesk allows you to manage and pay both employees and contractors on one platform. oDesk Payroll is only available for US-based W2 employees, whereas our traditional offering can support 1099 contractors all over the world.

What benefits are offered to workers via oDesk Payroll?

oDesk Payroll offers several benefits for your W-2 classified workforce:

  • Group Health Benefits: Workers averaging at least 30 hours per week via oDesk Payroll are eligible for one of Anthem's affordable group health plans, which carries significant advantages over individual plans — it includes higher benefit limits and no restrictions for pre-existing conditions. Those who drop below 30 hours per week become eligible for COBRA
  • 401(k) Savings Plans: oDesk Payroll workers are eligible to participate in our 401(k) savings plan after one month.
  • Hire talent anywhere in the U.S. or Canada
  • Simplified Taxes: As W-2 employees of oDesk's staffing agency, workers avoid the need to pay self-employment taxes or estimated quarterly tax payments. Payroll taxes are deducted from their take-home pay and submitted on their behalf.
  • Unemployment benefits: oDesk Payroll workers qualify for state unemployment benefits should their work slow down or stop (self-employed contractors are unable to file for unemployment benefits.)

What is the cost?

In our traditional model, oDesk receives 10% of the rate charged to you and the contractor receives the remaining 90%. Through oDesk Payroll, 20% of the rate you pay is divided for fees (10% oDesk + 10% payrolling costs), and the worker receives the remaining 80%. We also offer volume discounts if you prefer to prefund your account instead of paying by credit card. In addition, our time tracking tool will enable you to cut costs by ensuring that you pay only for actual hours worked.

What is the difference between oDesk Payroll and a traditional staffing firm?

With oDesk Payroll, you get the payroll and IRS compliance benefits of working through a staffing firm and the productivity and accountability of oDesk's high-visibility management tools. oDesk Payroll does not manage the contractors as some staffing relationships do — you still manage your own oDesk Payroll team with the same level of interaction as you have with your independent contractors on oDesk.

Does oDesk Payroll screen and qualify its contractors?

oDesk Payroll does not do incremental vetting beyond what oDesk normally does for other oDesk contractors. All oDesk and oDesk Payroll contractors have a contractor profile that in addition to a resume includes work history, feedback from past employers, skill test scores and portfolio.

Can I bring my own team to oDesk?

Yes! In addition to recruiting talent from our global marketplace, you can also bring your own contractors and employees to oDesk. If you are transitioning a large team to the oDesk platform simultaneously, we are happy to help with the logistics. The entire implementation typically takes less than a week.

How do I get started?

Email us at and we will call you to discuss the oDesk Payroll program and get you started.