When you’re working for or with another person or company, you need to know how you’re classified. The type of worker you are has an impact on the benefits you may or may not receive as well as your taxes and worker protections.
There are two main classifications for workers: independent contractors and employees.
How do you know if you’re an independent contractor?
The easiest way to know if you’re an independent contractor is to look at what you’re obligated to do and if you’re obligated to do that task in a particular way. Independent contractors are their own bosses, and those they work with are their clients.
Independent contractors usually:
- Buy their own safety equipment
- Use their own tools
- Drive their own vehicle for a job
- Buy their own work uniforms
Typically, an independent contractor will have a contract with the client to perform work. There may be some restrictions on how the work is to be performed, but the scope of the work should be clear and the independent contractor should have significant freedom in how they complete it.
To determine if you’re independent or an employee, ask if the company has a right to control you in any way. Are aspects of your job controlled by the payer? Finally, do you have access to any employee benefits?
If you have access to benefits, get reimbursed for expenses, use the payer’s tools, wear a work uniform provider by the payer or have to stick to the payer’s requirements for coming into work on time, then you’re probably an employee.
You may have a right to pursue compensation
It isn’t always clear who is or is not an independent contractor, but it’s important to find out. If you are independent but are treated like an employee for the various reasons stated above, you may have a right to pursue benefits and other protections offered to employees.