Independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage; employers are not required by state law to purchase coverage for independent contractors. Whether or not a worker is an employee is not controlled by what name the employer uses for the worker, but by the circumstances surrounding the employee’s work.
Independent contractors provide a service, usually with a contract, whether written or spoken. An independent contractor controls how the service is provided, who provides it, and how it is delivered. The key is that the independent contractor acts independently, free of direction and control of the hiring company (employer).
To be an employee, the worker does not need to be interviewed and formally hired. Independent contractors typically receive payment by the job; on the other hand, employees receive wages on an hourly or salaried basis.
Another factor in distinguishing an independent contractor from an employee is who provides the equipment. An independent contractor typically provides the equipment necessary to complete the job, while an employer typically provides the equipment for the employee to complete the job.
Another thing to consider is the character of the work involved. If the work is highly skilled, and the worker only performs a single job, the worker is likely an independent contractor. Independent contractors almost always work for more than one company. Otherwise, if the worker is trained by and receives regular work from the same company, the worker is more likely to be considered an employee.
The state worker’s compensation board will consider all of the above factors regarding the workers’ employment situation to determine whether the worker was an independent contractor or an employee. Ask your independent insurance agent what works best for you if you have questions about worker’s compensation.