Consultants have plenty of freedom; they usually aren’t tied to a desk, nor do they necessarily work standard business hours. No doubt, being a freelancer or contracted consultant has myriad advantages. Employers prefer independent contractors because they represent a major cost savings over employees.
However, depending on your person situation, there are many reasons why being classified as an employee is in your best interest.
- Employers must pay half of the Social Security and Medicare taxes for employees. Independent contractors have to fork over the full boat for these costly, but mandated, taxes.
- Employees are entitled to unemployment benefits if they are laid off of work.
- As an independent contractor, employment laws do not cover you in the same way they do employees: your employer isn’t bound by minimum wage, maximum number of hours worked, sick and vacation days, etc.)
- Freelance workers are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits; employers have no responsibility to provide these benefits beyond their employee workforce.
If you believe you should be categorized as an employee instead of an independent contractor, you may be able to get your employer to reclassify you so you can receive these important, valuable benefits. A simple conversation with your employer, or human resources, depending on the size of your company, may do the trick. Companies that misclassify workers can get in a lot of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.
If your employer isn’t willing to change your status, but you strongly believe you are entitled to the benefits employees receive because of the nature of your work and the way you are treated by your employer, contact an employment lawyer who will review the circumstances and go to bat for you with your employer and the IRS if necessary.
Contact Begelman & Orlow for knowledgeable legal advice on all employment issues. We understand these complex laws and we will fight for your rights and interests.