Employers may classify workers in two main categories: employee or independent contractor. The category in which you fall will have an impact on many different aspects of your employment. It also will impact taxation and workers’ compensation benefits.
According to Forbes, an independent contractor is a worker who is separate from the employer, whereas an employee is the responsibility of the employer. The distinction is important because it also means that employers do not owe certain benefits, such as workers’ compensation, to independent contractors because these workers are essentially their own employer.
An employer cannot classify you as an independent contractor is an attempt to avoid the expenses of an employee. The law mandates specific requirements a position must meet to be eligible for this classification. In general, it is a position where the worker has a lot of freedom in choosing how, when and where to work. The employer may give this worker instructions and a general guide to the job, but it has no control over the worker.
If an employer can classify you as an independent contractor, then you do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This is the reason why it is essential to ensure your job and duties fall under the proper guidelines for this type of classification. If your employer improperly classifies you, then you can report it and insist on the proper classification and benefits due to you.
If you are an independent contractor, your only option for coverage under workers’ compensation would be to buy your own insurance. You may be better off making sure you have proper health insurance and potential short-and-long-term disability insurance, which will provide you with the same benefits at possibly higher levels than workers’ compensation.