Working full-time often means working eight hours a day from nine in the morning to five in the evening, five days a week. Yet, many full-time workers struggle to put food on the table, let alone pay rent.
Over the last several years more and more people have been resigning to find jobs that pay a living wage, that meets the current economic times. This has been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” an era of labor shortage, wherein people are leaving their 9-to-5 jobs and considering other methods of income, such as freelance and contracted work. Freelance and contracted work has liberated many workers, freeing up their time and, in some cases, providing them with a much-needed pay rise. Yet, there are significant drawbacks to being classified as an independent contractor if someone is doing the work of an employee.
Independent contractor or employee?
The labels of “independent contractor” or “employee” are merely words. In other words, an independent contractor may be misclassified and actually be an employee, which grants them the right to minimum wage, numerous benefits and overtime pay.
This can be a difficult concept to parse because the law on this subject is complex. Independent contractor misclassification happens too often to the benefit of employers and the detriment of workers, partially because it is difficult for workers to understand if they’ve been misclassified.
Employee Misclassification FAQs
Question #1: A job only matters if I get paid, so why would I want to be classified as an employee?
Answer: As stated above, as an employee, you would be legally entitled to many benefits, such as minimum wage, workplace harassment and discrimination protection, workers’ compensation and unemployment.
Question #2: Are all work-from-home jobs contracted?
Answer: Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an independent contractor.
Question #3: Can I become an employee if I signed an independent contractor agreement?
Answer: A signed agreement may not mean anything if it’s found that you should legally be classified as an employee.
Know your legal rights
If you believe you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor, you should seek legal guidance to better understand your legal rights.