Brand Ambassadors: W-2 or Freelance? - Event Marketer


Brand Ambassadors: W-2 or Freelance?

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ATN’s brand ambassadors are all W-2 employees. Today less than 1% of event staffing agencies offer W-2 staff. This provides many benefits (financial, legal, etc.) to our clients and brand ambassadors.

W-2 Brand Ambassadors


Why ATN Offers W-2 Brand Ambassadors

The W-2 is a Federal form on which ATN’s brand ambassadors specify how much income, Social Security, and Medicare tax to withhold from their earnings. When brand ambassadors fill out a W-2 form and onboarding paperwork with ATN’s payroll partner, they become regular employees. ATN made a decision to get ahead of the curve early due to upcoming regulatory changes. Most experts predict that all brand ambassadors will have to be W-2 employees before long. ATN wants to maintain impeccable service for our clients and extend maximum benefits and convenience to our brand ambassadors.    

Payroll and Tax Implications of W-2

Once a staff member fills out onboarding paperwork and a W-2 form, we can issue payment quickly via direct deposit or paper check. On average, brand ambassadors receive payment 15-20 days after an event. If payroll issues arise, we collaborate diligently with our brand ambassadors and our payroll partner to address delays. As W-2 employees, we consider our brand ambassadors part of the ATN team and want to build an ongoing relationship. We have many brand ambassadors who work the equivalent of full-time hours and some who have risen up within the company ranks.

In terms of taxes, the bottom line is that brand ambassadors make more freelancing as independent contractors. While income tax does not vary between what brand ambassadors earn as independent contractors or W-2 employees, FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare combined) is considerably higher for independent contractors. For Social Security, the IRS takes 12.4% up to $117,000. For Medicare, the IRS takes 2.9%.

Now here’s the key difference: a W-2 employee with ATN, we pay half of the FICA tax (i.e., 7.65%). As an independent contractor with some other staffing agency, a brand ambassador will pay the full FICA tax (i.e., 15.3%). Working as a W-2 employee is convenient and profitable for our brand ambassadors. In certain cases, our advertised hourly rates might be a bit lower than other agencies, but this is because ATN covers half of the FICA tax and administers the W-2 process for its staff.

Other W-2 Implications

ATN offers its W-2 employees peace of mind in the form of workers compensation insurance. If anything should happen to while working as a brand ambassador, rest assured that we have excellent coverage nationwide. ATN is genuinely concerned about both both our clients' and team's financial and personal well being.


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