Is it legal to work full-time for almost 2 years but yet still get paid as contract labor?

UPDATED: Dec 17, 2011

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Is it legal to work full-time for almost 2 years but yet still get paid as contract labor?

I have made over $20,000 this year. Can the employeer have 12 out of 14 employees on contract labor full-time?

Asked on December 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not what percentage of workers are independent contractors (contract labor), or how long anyone has been an independent contractor; the issue is whether a given worker meets the tests for truly being an independent contractor. It doesn't matter how the employer wants to pay them or what it wants to call them--if they do not meet the test to be an independent contractor, they are an employee...and conversely, if they meet the test, they can be an independent contractor for years or decades.

To see the tests in detail, so you can see how you measure up, go to the U.S. Department of Labor website.

In brief, an independent contractor is "independent": he or she generally sets his or her hours; determines how to do his or job; usually has more than one client; provides own tools and training; and is not micromanaged. Think about a "contractor" working on your home, as an analogy--you hire the contractor to do a job, but then get out of the contractor's way and let him determine how to do it.

On the other hand, employees work hours set by their employer, and are told what to do when and how to do their jobs.

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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