Independent Contractor Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale
How Are Labor Laws Different for Independent Contractors & Employees?
Often, businesses will hire independent contractors to perform work that does not fall under the duties of full- or part-time employees. In fact, because of the different labor regulations that apply to independent contractors, many companies see this as an attractive business solution. Employers are not responsible for paying independent contractors’ taxes or providing them with employment benefits such as health insurance, retirement, or pensions. Independent contractors are also exempt from the wage and hour laws that apply to employees.
Unfortunately, many employers wrongfully classify employees as independent contractors in an effort to save money or avoid having to provide benefits. However, the state of Florida looks at 10 unique factors to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Misclassification can result in penalties for an employer and wages owed to the worker.
Factors Used to Differentiate Between Employees & Independent Contractors
As previously mentioned, Florida has a 10-factor test used to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee of a business. Even if the worker in question has signed a contract stating that he or she is an independent contractor, this is not enough to protect the employer if the worker is found to in fact be an employee. In general, the state looks at the level of financial and behavioral control the worker has, as well as the relationship between the worker and the employer.
Some of the primary factors used to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee include:
- Right to Control: Who controls how work is completed? If the employer exerts primary control over the method of job completion, it is more likely that the worker is an employee. If the worker maintains control over how he or she completes the required work, it is more likely that he or she is an independent contractor.
- Pay, Taxes, and Expenses: Are taxes taken out of the worker’s pay? Is the worker paid by the hour, week, or year or is he or she paid by the job? Is the worker responsible for his or her own expenses, including travel, tools, resources, etc.? The more financial control an employer has, the more likely it is that the worker is an employee.
- Hours: Independent contractors have the right to set their own hours and work on their own schedule. Employees, on the other hand, are more likely to be required to work specific, set hours and to complete work according to the employer’s schedule.
- Type of Service: If the services provided by the worker are part of the normal operations of the business or are integrated into the business’s regular processes, it is more likely that the worker is an employee of the business. Independent contractors, on the other hand, typically provide services that fall outside the normal scope of business operations.
- Training: While employers typically provide training for employees, they typically do not offer training for independent contractors. Rather, independent contractors are expected to secure their own training and/or already have the necessary skills required to complete the contracted project/work.
- Employer-Worker Relationship: This includes things like the length of time for which the worker is employed, whether the worker provides services exclusively for the business or if he or she provides services for other businesses/employers, and the actual or expected ongoing relationship between the employer and the worker.
This list is not exhaustive. There are many other factors that may be considered when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor and have therefore had your hour, wage, or other employment rights violated as a result, contact our firm for a free consultation with an attorney in Fort Lauderdale.
Understanding Your Rights as an Independent Contractor
If you are, in fact, an independent contractor, you still have certain labor rights. Although independent contractors are not granted all the same rights as employees—such as the right to meal breaks, overtime pay, or disability—they do maintain the right to control the method and details of how work is completed. Independent contractors also have the right to a contract, as well as the right to market themselves and enter contracts with other clients/employers, sub-contractors, and independents. You are also entitled to work when and how you like and to manage your own business.
If you are an independent contractor and are dealing with an employment conflict, such as a contract dispute or violation of your rights, turn to the trusted legal team at USA Employment Lawyers. Our Fort Lauderdale independent contractor attorneys can aggressively advocate for you. We assist independent contractors and workers throughout the state of Florida.