When you work for a company, they have to classify you either as an employee or as an independent contractor. Employees can fall into several different categories, including part-time or full-time and salaried or hourly. Independent contractors are typically outside professionals who may only partner with the business for a specific project.
Hiring an independent contractor benefits a business because they don’t have to contribute to employment taxes on that person’s behalf. The business can usually also avoid paying for workers’ compensation coverage for employees listed as independent contractors.
You may never have cared about the fact that your employer made you fill out a 1099 instead of a W-2. However, if you have recently gotten hurt on the job, you may have already learned that your misclassification as an independent contractor has an impact on your rights.
If your employer treats you like an employee, they should classify you as one
It can be hard to succinctly define the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Generally speaking, employees are beholden to their employer and must submit themselves to micromanagement and demands about how they perform their job. Employees may also have training or equipment provided by their employer and may fulfill duties that are crucial to the primary function of the company.
Independent contractors, on the other hand, typically have their own business and supply their own equipment. Beyond that, they have the right to decline worker projects they don’t want to do and do not have to submit themselves to the demands or timetable established by management, other than meeting deadlines as outlined in the contract.
Many companies treat workers like employees while inappropriately classifying them as independent contractors to save the company money. If your employer has done this to you, you may be able to get the benefits you need.
Workers’ compensation may be the only way to support yourself until you heal
Unless you have your own disability insurance policy, workers’ compensation insurance may be the only form of protection. It will replace your wages and cover the medical costs associated with a job-related injury.
Misclassified workers often find their initial workers’ compensation claims get denied and that they have to take additional legal action in order to get the benefits they need. The sooner you initiate this process, the sooner you can potentially connect with compensation and begin recovery instead of worrying about financial devastation.