Employment, Payroll and Benefits

Turn your open source project into your full time job.


Projects fiscally sponsored by OSC can offer employment benefits to their contributors. This allows you to employ people as contractors or full-time employees and enables you to provide access to benefits including health insurance.

How it works

Project admins define who to hire (themselves or others), how much to pay in salaries, and the job description(s).

Projects decide their own internal management structure, work practices, hours, and other day-to-day aspects of the job.

Costs related to employment are paid from your initiative's budget.

OSC (or the PEO) will be the employer ensuring legal compliance with employment regulations, and will take care of payroll, liability, taxes, workers comp, and all paperwork, working with our preferred PEO or EOR.

What are PEO's and EOR's?

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) and Employers of Record (EORs) are organizations that enable us to employ staff for your project. PEOs and EORs are generally (and confusingly) used interchangeably, but are different in one key area:

PEOs provide payroll services to clients like OSC. They are the employer with regard to tax filings and accounting but they do not have an employment agreement with the employee. We (OSC) are the official employer, this arrangement is also called 'co-employment' in the US.

EORs provide payroll services to clients like OSC but, importantly, they are also the official employer of employees. Clients like OSC sign a separate agreement with the EOR that determines how and who is responsible for directing and managing the employee, namely the client.

To all intents and purposes daily, weekly and monthly work will be the same regardless of how we employ you, but it is worth knowing who your legal employer is


Benefits are available to full-time employees (30+ hours per week).

Because we use a PEO/EOR we can access large group health insurance plans only available to employers. This lowers costs and increases available options.

Employees can decide whether or not to sign up for healthcare or other benefits, and the initiative's budget is only charged for benefits if they opt-in. Each initative can choose what proportion of benefits costs are paid by the initiative vs out of pocket by its employees.

Retirement & Pension Contributions

In many countries employers are legally obliged to provide a contribution to retirement or pension plans. If employing in a jurisdiction with this requirement we will ensure that we do so. Otherwise we will work with you to establish an appropriate policy for the inidividual and ourselves as the employer.


The following costs are charged to the Collective's budget for employment:

  • Wages (and associated taxes, levies, and fees as required by law) - salary amounts are set by the initiative

  • Local employment taxes - OSC can employ people in over 75 territories (and growing) we pay taxes local to the territories we employ in

  • Benefits - if the employee chooses to opt into benefits such as healthcare we will pass these on to you.

  • PEO/EOR fees - payroll provider costs ($49 or $99 per month per employee within the US — depending on benefits status, quotes available on request in other territories)

  • Insurance - coverage for the initiative under OSC's employment practices liability insurance and related policies (varies depending on initiative activities, but commonly $250 per year)

  • Administrative fee - $50 per employee per month

Costs are deducted monthly from the initiative's budget. Once employment is set up, employees will be paid by direct debit and initiatives do not have to take any action to manage ongoing expenses.

Requirements & Policies

  • Employees must be located in one of the countries covered by our PEO provider, and be allowed to work legally in that country.

  • OSC can currently support salaried, exempt, part-time, full-time employees. For other types of work, you may pay people as independent contractors instead (employment laws allowing - see below).

  • All employees have unlimited paid time off (PTO) and we do not track or pay out PTO.

  • Initiatives must maintain a sufficient budget to ensure funds are available to pay employees for the minimum terms of their agreements. (For fixed-term employment situations, it may be possible to drop below this threshold toward the end of the contract.)

  • Employees and initiative admins have to agree to the terms of the standard OSC employment agreement (template).

  • Employees must agree to follow the policies in the OSC Employee Handbook, which covers things like non-harassment, various kinds of statutory leave, health and safety, etc. Each state has slightly different required policies so the handbook varies by state (here is the New York handbook as an example).

Worker Classification

Anyone who wishes to be employed and meets the above requirements is welcome to be employed by OSC. Conversely, there are situations where the law says we must make someone an employee instead of a contractor. Defining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor is called worker classification.

There are laws designed to prevent worker exploitation and ensure workers are afforded the protections and benefits of employment where appropriate. Regulations vary by state—someone in California may need to be employed while someone in Texas doing the same work might be allowed to be a contractor.

If you'd like to learn more about classification, read the guide below. It's a complex topic and we regularly run scenarios past our lawyer to be sure. If you have any questions about classification, please contact us.

Terminating Employment

OSC is an at-will employer in the US, and OSC or the employee may end the employment relationship at any time. In most circumstances, OSC will terminate employment at the instruction of the initiative's admin named as the employee's supervisor in the employment contract. In other territories OSC will abide by local employment laws.

Fixed-term employment contracts will expire upon the end date specified, unless they are extended. If the initiative or employee no longer meets the basic requirements for employment, such as lacking budget to cover costs, the employment relationship will end.

Where possible, we ask initiatives to give us advance notice, so we can take care of the termination process in a timely manner.

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