Employers who tell independent contractors when to work may be entitling them to more benefits by forcing a reclassification.
How is an Independent Contractor Classified?
According to the IRS, individuals who are “in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public” may be considered independent contractors. This may include doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, auctioneers, and many others.
An important part of classifying independent contractors is determining to what extent an employer controls their work. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following questions to help determine the scope of an employer’s control over an independent contractor:
- Can the employer control what a worker does and how they do their job?
- Can the employer control the business aspects of the worker’s job (how they are paid, expense reimbursements, where they can get tools and supplies, etc.)?
- Do the employer and worker have a written contract and/or does the employer provide benefits such as a pension plan, vacation pay, or insurance?
- Is the work a key aspect of the relationship between the employer and worker?
The more control an employer has over a worker, the more likely it is that the worker is classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor. When in doubt, workers may want to speak with their employer’s human resources department to see if and how they qualify as an independent contractor.
What are the Pros and Cons of Being an Independent Contractor?
In contrast with traditional employees, independent contractors usually have more freedom.
The biggest disadvantage to being an independent contractor is that these workers are not protected by employment and labor laws. This means that they are not guaranteed wages, overtime, uniform pay periods, and other protections.
Independent contractors may be paid at an hourly, daily, or weekly rate or may be compensated based solely on the job completed. Additionally, independent contractors are not required to be paid on a certain date. Some employers may choose to pay their independent contractors routinely simply for the ease of this set-up, but other employers may use the terms of their prearranged contracts in order to make payments after an invoice is received.
Being classified as an independent contractor puts the responsibility on workers to understand their rights and make sure they are being afforded all the rights they deserve.
Can You Tell an Independent Contractor When to Work?
By definition, independent contractors are able to dictate their schedules. This means that employers cannot tell an independent contractor when to work unless they want to give the worker the benefits of a true employee.
If you are an independent contractor and have been told when to work by your employer, you may be entitled to more benefits such as overtime and wage requirements. A qualified labor attorney can help evaluate your case and determine if you are eligible for more benefits.
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Even if you are classified as an independent contractor, you may be entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, reimbursement for expenses, and meal and rest breaks, among other employee benefits.
This article is not legal advice. It is presented
for informational purposes only.
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