Chances are you – or someone you know – carries the title of Contractor. But think again if you imagine that those contractors have anything to do with any home improvement seen on HGTV.
Lots of large companies are using the job title of “Independent Contractor” as a way out of having to pay wages and benefits. It can happen, for example, in truck driving, delivery, or taxi service. It also crops up for in-house staffs, and even in hotel workers’ classifications.
The biggest out for such employers relates to benefits. These ‘employers’ almost never pay – and thus those Contractor workers don’t get – employer tax coverage, social security benefits, vacation, sick leave, paid time off, overtime or even minimum wage.
But these contractors have no Independence. They can’t choose when they want to work. They have to keep schedules, just like employees. They may even do the same work right along with or next to actual employees who do get those benefits. They may even wear the same uniforms, drive the same type of vehicle, work the same long hours. But they have none of the protections they would if they were employees.
Even worse, the contractors may be required to pay for the tools of the trade, e.g., vehicles, in such a manner that the cost of the vehicle can eat up a major chunk the contractor is supposed to earn for doing this work.
Are you a Contractor (whether called Independent or not) findingi yourself in such a situation? Keep your own record (a daily record of your own, paper or otherwise) of every aspect of your working time. Do you pay for phones, gas, parking, washing, uniforms, shoes, anything like that at all, while working 5-7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day? Write down and save receipts of every penny of expense that comes out of your pocket.
Maybe you can still get some of those benefits. Perhaps you are owed back straight or overtime. You might be owed reimbursement for all those expenses. If any of this applies to you, we recommend you give us, or an attorney representing employees a call.