Independent Contractor Definition

An independent contractor is a person or business who performs services for another person under an express or implied agreement and who is not subject to the other's control, or right to control, the manner and means of performing the services. The person who hires an independent contractor is not liable to others for the acts or omissions of the independent contractor. An independent contractor is distinguished from an employee, who works regularly for an employer. The exact nature of the independent contractor's relationship with the hiring party is important since an independent contractor pays their own Social Security, income taxes without payroll deduction, has no retirement or health plan rights, and often is not entitled to worker's compensation coverage.

There are a number of factors which to consider in making the decision whether people are employees or independent contractors. No one factor is controlling, and the characterization of the relationship by the parties is also not controlling.

One of the most important considerations is the degree of control exercised by the company over the work of the workers. An employer has the right to control an employee. It is important to determine whether the company had the right to direct and control the workers not only as to the results desired, but also as to the details, manner and means by which the results were accomplished. If the company had the right to supervise and control such details of the work peformed, and the manner and means by which the results were to be accomplished, an employer-employee relationship would be indicated. On the other hand, the absence of supervision and control by the company would support a finding that the workers were independent contractors and not employees. Whether or not such control was exercised is not the determining factor, it is the right to control which is key.

Another factor to be considered is the connection and regularity of business between the independent contractor and the hiring party. Important factors to be considered are separate advertising, procurement of licensing, maintenance of a place of business, and supplying of tools and equipment by the independent contractor. If the service rendered is to be completed by a certain time, as opposed to an indefinite time period, a finding of an independent contractor status is more likely.

Also, an independent contractor is more likely to be subject to the risk of taking a profit or loss in the work performed. An employee is generally paid on an hourly, salary, or commission basis, whereas an independent contractor is ordinarily paid an agreed amount, or according to an agreed formula, for a given job.

This is also termed as contract labor.

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