Questions Regarding Independent Contractor v. Employee Status in Florida
Independent contractors are treated differently from employees under federal and Florida employment laws, and the distinctions run deeper than the W-2 or 1099 you receive for tax purposes. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must comply with regulations on wages and hours, including minimum wage and overtime. Companies are required to extend certain rights and benefits for those considered true employees, but these perks do not apply to independent contractors.
As you might expect, it is more expensive for employers to comply with laws on wages and benefits for employees. Companies can cut corners by retaining independent contractors. The rights of the individual that provides the services can be jeopardized when employers misclassify, but there are remedies under Florida law. You should discuss them with a Palm Beach County employment lawyer, though there are some questions to ask yourself about your status.
Who provides instruction and training? The core of the distinction between employees and independent contractors centers on how much control the company exercises over the person’s job. When it is the organization that dictates how work-related tasks are to be performed, your position is more likely to be as an employee. An independent contractor has the flexibility to complete the job without any direction from the company.
Where is the work performed? Though the distinction can be more challenging when looking at trends for the “gig economy” and working from home, the place for doing the job is important. An employee will typically be present at the employer’s place of business. An independent contractor can complete tasks from wherever works best for the project.
How is payment handled? Employees are commonly paid twice per month or every two weeks, depending on the company’s pay policies. Independent contractors are usually paid periodically for longer terms, such as monthly or quarterly. Plus, a contractor will submit an invoice first to request payment. Employees “punch a clock,” often through an app or electronic means of tracking time.
When is the work to be performed? An independent contractor will usually provide services according to a deadline that is included in the contract. When finished, the business relationship concludes. Employees work for the company without interruption, though they may have time restrictions for individual projects.
Is the work ongoing and continuous? When an independent contractor delivers services to a company, the business relationship ends when the project is complete. An employee continues working for the employer upon finishing assignments as directed by the company, unless and until terminated.
Discuss Your Employee Status with a Florida Employment Law Attorney
These are important questions to ask yourself about independent versus employee status are important for understanding your basic rights. However, you will need to consult with an experienced legal professional to get clarity on your unique circumstances. For more information, please contact our team at Sconzo Law Office. You can reach our offices in Palm Beach Gardens by calling 561-279-6114 or visiting us online. We are happy to set up a no-cost consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer.