Lately, it’s become more and more common for people to work remotely, or even work from home. Additionally, many more people have taken on independent contractor work as a result of changing times. Some companies actually prefer hiring these independent contractors over regular employees. This is due to the fact that they don’t have to pay minimum wage, they don’t have to offer employee benefits, and they don’t offer vacations. So how can an independent contractor understand their rights to avoid companies taking advantage of them?
Independent contractor rights are an important part of employment and labor laws. At the Leichter Law Firm PC, we offer representation from a Board-Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, as well as a team of qualified legal professionals. Our Texas employment attorneys are passionate about the law and have a strong work ethic. We believe in fighting for what is right, no matter how difficult it may seem to others. No other firm can offer you this level of service because we represent employees exclusively. We’re uniquely qualified to protect your interests as an employee, and we don’t need to worry about losing clients if our employment lawyers take on the most difficult labor law complaints. To schedule your free consultation, call 512-495-9995 today.
What Is an Independent Contractor?
According to the IRS, an independent contractor is, basically, someone who is self-employed. This means that those who pay them for their services do not control the manner in which they perform their jobs, only which results they want. The contractor decides how to achieve the end result, not an employer. In general, if some form of employee-employer relationship exists, that person is not an independent contractor. Any and all earnings for self-employed workers are subject to the Self-Employment Tax.
What Are Independent Contractor Rights?
Understanding your independent contractor rights is essential to making sure that people don’t take advantage of you. Along with your rights as a contractor, it is also important to understand how your tax responsibilities differ from employees. This will open the door for greater profits and a growing personal business. Not knowing your rights might lead to clients underpaying you, not paying at all, forcing you to work longer hours, or asking you to perform extra duties with no extra pay. Additionally, not understanding your tax obligations could lead to earning less than you should. Below, we discuss 10 key independent contractor rights that you have.
Right to a contract.
As a contractor, it is always a good idea to write up a formal contract in order to protect yourself from abuse. This contract should outline your duties, how much you get paid, when you get paid, and that you are a contractor, not an employee. Additionally, make sure that you outline your client-contractor relationship. Otherwise, state or federal agencies might view you as an employee. Lastly, outline your project description, allotted time for completion, billing, payment methods, and contract termination requirements.
Right to control.
The whole point of self employment is to control how you work, rather than allowing your clients to control you. Your contract prevents a client from telling you when, where, or how to work. As an independent contractor, you know how to do the job better than the client. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have hired you.
Right to make decisions.
Independent contractors operate as their own bosses. The person paying you is a client, not a boss. Therefore, you maintain the freedom to decide where, when, and how you finish a project. If the client does not approve of the decisions you outlined in the contract, they simply do not sign, and you go your separate ways.
Right to work when you want.
Unlike employees, whose hours are dictated by their employer, independent contractors decide the days and hours that they work.
Right to work where you want.
Additionally, you have the right to decide where you work. Whether you want to work from home, from a coffee shop, or from your client’s place of business, you have the right to decide.
Right to advertise.
It might seem obvious, but as a contractor, you maintain the right to market your services. This could happen through business cards, brochures, or even handouts. Contracts should include your right to work for more than one client at once.
Right to payment.
Employees receive payment based on a set schedule. Contractors, however, decide what their deadlines are, as well as when they get paid. Additionally, many contractors submit an invoice to their clients which outlines the work they did along with the compensation they must receive. The contract specifies when and how the contractor will receive payment.
Right to employing other contractors or subcontractors.
At times, contractors decide to sign with other contractors in order to finish their projects. This is similar to general contractors hiring subcontractors. Your contract should include your right to partner with other contractors.
Right to challenge your employment status.
The IRS and the Department of Labor classify workers based on their own standards. However, they still misclassify individuals from time to time. If you are an independent contractor who has been misclassified by the government, you have the right to hire an employment attorney on your behalf.
Right to manage your own business.
You run your own business as an independent contractor. As a self employed person, you provide your own benefits. Your client has no responsibility for benefits, health insurance, or other things that employees have. Also, you enforce the rights of your business. If someone attempts to abuse your services, you must take action.
Why Do You Need to Know Your Independent Contractor Rights?
Keeping all of the above information in mind, why is it so important to know these rights? Aside from protecting yourself from abuse and exploitation from clients, knowing your tax responsibilities is extremely important. At the end of every tax year, you must file a Self-Employment Tax form. Understanding your rights, taking care of your tax responsibilities, and properly defining your contract all protect your independent contractor rights.
Do I Need an Attorney for Independent Contractor Rights Violations?
At the Leichter Law Firm PC, we offer the experience and knowledge of an independent contractor lawyer for our clients. No matter what job you do or what your issue is, we’re here to help. Give us a call for your free consultation today at 512-495-9995 today, or fill out our online intake form.