What is an Independent Contractor? - Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP.

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What is an Independent Contractor?

Posted May 12, 2022 | Employment Law

Today, many people want flexibility in their careers. They want more control over what hours they work and where they work. While some companies allow their employees to have this sort of flexibility, being an independent contractor is a common way of getting these types of perks. However, not everyone fully understands what their role is or how they’re different from any other employee. 

Learn more about what this means. 

When are You Considered an Independent Contractor?

If you’re an independent contractor, it means you’re self-employed, although you can be contracted to work for a company for a certain amount of time. Even though you’re working with a company and providing them with your services, you’re still considered an independent contractor. Some independent contractors work with one client exclusively. Contracts can often last for six months to one year and independent contractors may even work in person with a company. This is slightly different from a freelancer, as independent contractors are often more involved with a company than someone who freelances.

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

As independent contractors can be very involved with a company, it can sometimes be hard to understand what makes them different from any other employee at that company. When someone is considered to be an independent contractor rather than an employee is often based on the amount of control and oversight the employer has. New York state provides guidelines on when there may be an employee-employer relationship.

In addition to fulfilling different types of roles, one of the biggest differences between employees and independent contractors is the benefits employees receive. For example, employees of the company may be entitled to receive overtime pay or have insurance. Another important difference is that employers do not have to pay payroll taxes for an independent contractor, while they do for an employee. 

What Happens if You’re Misclassified?

Since distinguishing who is an independent contractor and who is an employee can be complicated, some independent contractors and employees are bound to be misclassified. In some cases, an employer may do this to avoid providing you with the benefits your position should be entitled to. Even if you signed a contract that states that you’re an independent contractor, if your employer treats you like you’re a regular employee, you could still be misclassified. If you’ve been misclassified, your employer could owe you compensation, such as back pay and contributions to your employee benefits.

Protect Your Employee Rights with Brown Kwon & Lam

There are pros and cons to being an independent contractor, and the same goes for being an employee. However, whichever your role is, you deserve to be treated as such. If you’re an independent contractor, you want the perks that come along with it. If you’re actually an employee who’s been misclassified as an independent contractor, you deserve the benefits that employees at your company are entitled to.

At Brown Kwon & Lam, we’re here to fight for the rights of employees in NYC. If your employer owes you compensation, contact us for help.

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