What determines my workers as employees or independent contractors?

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What determines my workers as employees or independent contractors?

Asked on July 21, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

How they work for you determines whether they are employees or independent contractors. For a full, detailed description of when someone is one or the other, go to the federal Department of Labor website. in brief, someone is an an employee, regardless of what you call them or they call themselves, if:

1) You tell them *how* to do the job--i.e. you don't just say, for example, "fix my sink" (like you might to a plumber), but either actually do or at least have the right to tell them precisely how they do the job.

2) You tell them *when* to work--i.e. you can specificy their hours of employment.

3) You provide their tools and equipment.

4) They only have you as a client--independent contrators are "independent" and will typically have more than one client at a time.

5) They can't lose money on working for you, the way a small business (which is what an independent contractor really is) could post a loss as well as a profit.

There are other criteria as well, but the above are the main ones; if any one or more apply, they are very likely, perhaps even almost certainly, employees, not independent contractors.

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