According to Pennsylvania labor law standards, independent contractors are not entitled to employee benefits, which may include worker’s compensation. But if you are injured on the job while working as an independent contractor, there’s a chance that your employment is misclassified and you should be listed as an employee with all of the rights and benefits involved.
The United States Department of Labor considers employee misclassification as independent contractors to be one of the most serious problems affecting today’s job market. Misclassification can cost employees who are denied access to the protections they are entitled to under law. In fact, in 2015 the Wage and Labor Division of the Department of Labor awarded nearly $74 million in back wages and benefits compensation for employees who were incorrectly classified.
How can you tell if you are misclassified as an independent contractor? The Department of Labor has guidelines to help determine this. Below are a few factors to consider:
In general, employees:
- Work for a single employer at a time
- Work hours or a schedule set by the employer
- Works at a location or locations designated by the employer (this can be at the employer’s office, or an off-site location specified by the employer)
- Complete tasks in the manner the employer requires.
- Uses equipment paid for by the employer
On the other hand, independent contractors:
- May do work for many different employers at one time
- Decide where, when, and how they accomplish their projects for the employer
- Exercise independent business judgment
- Purchase their own equipment
Scope of work is also important. Even someone who fits many of the requirements of an independent contractor may actually need to be classified as an employee if the work they perform is a vital and integral part of the employer’s business.
A Lawyer Can Help Clear Things Up For You
If you were injured while performing a task according to company direction, using company equipment, or at a location designated by the employer, you may be incorrectly classified as an independent contractor and could be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.
The first step is seeking help. The skilled labor law attorneys at Shollenberger, Januzzi & Wolfe, LLP, can help you determine if you should be an employee, and if so, work to get you the protections you need. Do not assume that because you are classified as an independent contractor, that you are without recourse.