Independent Contractor v. Employee: Length of Time

Legal Lotus - Family and Trial Attorneys

I wanted to answer a few questions that I’ve been receiving regarding independent contractors and employees. There is a difference between the two of those. I would highly recommend that you speak to a local attorney with respect to certain laws and local laws. For today, I will touch base on certain things that may happen that would cause an independent contractor to qualify as an employee in the eyes of the law and the court.

This is very important because these two roles are very different in the sense that laws with respect to taxes and also with respect to compensation are going to be different depending on the title of the person. Even if you have a title, let’s say if you have the title of an independent contractor, there are some actions and the way that you treat this person with respect your business that may qualify them as an employee.

Why does this matter?

Let’s say for example you have someone working for you as an independent contractor; the terms of your agreement that you have with this person may be for X amount of time. An independent contractor maybe put into consideration as an employee with respect to purposes of employment law, depending on the time.

There’s a thin line between independent contractors and employees when it comes to employment law, and you want to make sure that you don’t run the risk of having a contractor classified as an employee because the way that you treat this person could later come back and jeopardize you and you may be responsible for certain compensation and violations of certain laws.

Time is Key:

The duration of time that you put in an agreement is one of the factors in the eyes of the court when there is a question of determining whether a specific person is either an employee or an independent contractor.

If you’re putting a duration of time that’s for several years and this person is supposed to be an independent contractor, then I can see an attorney arguing that this person should be considered an employee because the way that you’re treating this person and the fact that it is a long term commitment in a way and that of course factor with other stuff as well like if you treat this person is clocking in 9 to 5 type thing and they really have no other time to have any other work then they may be considered an employee, so you want to look into the to the length of time you can get creative with the agreements that you do, and you can possibly have a duration of time on-demand basis to be renewed or reviewed at the end of each month.

You should make sure that you have this classification very clear, and you speak to your local attorney for local rules with respect to the difference between independent contractors and employees and just keep in mind that the length of time that someone is under contract with you is one of the factors.

If you put a period of three, five, or ten years, then you run the risk of having that independent contractor to qualify becoming an employee. This of course, comes with different factors.


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