Are subcontractors eligible for unemployment benefits?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Are subcontractors eligible for unemployment benefits?

I’ve worked at a nursing home for 7 years and 7 months ago they contracted out the kitchen and kept me on as subcontractor. Now I’ve been dismissed and

replaced with their own worker. Am I eligible for benefits?

Asked on September 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Only employees are eligible for unemployment, not freelance or contract workers. But the question is: regardless of what they called you, were you in fact an employee, not a contractor?  The law looks to the reality of the situation, not what the employer called it: if you worked there as an employee, subject to their control, their hours, their oversight, etc., you may well have been an employee--either of the nursing home, or of whomever the contracted the kitchen out to. There is no penalty for applying: apply for benefits and see if the unemployemnt office grants them to you. Be sure to describe how you worked, subject to what control, so they office can determine whether you were in fact an employee or not.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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