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Part 1: Understanding whether you are an independent contractor

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Even when you are classified as an independent contract in California, you may actually be an employee of the organization or company where you work. Often the distinction between independent contractors and employees is not as clear you may think, regardless of the contract you entered into or the way you are paid. At the Law Offices of Mauro Fiore, Jr., we understand your rights and the obligations of employers under California law.

Working as an independent contractor may have some advantages over traditional employment but it usually has disadvantages as well, such as disqualification for certain benefits set aside under California law for employees. When a relationship is established between a business and a person who provides personal services for compensation, the law presumes that the relationship is that of an employee and an employer. Such a relationship qualifies some employees for workers’ compensation insurance and brings them under the coverage of minimum wage laws, rules governing working hours and mandatory break and rest periods. Employees are also entitled to reimbursement for expenses they incur during the regular course of their business.

Businesses, on the other hand, may prefer that a person who provides personal services be classified as an independent contractor because they are able to avoid liability for workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, social security, and disability insurance. Perhaps most significantly, a business does not have to cover payroll taxes for independent contractors, which saves the business money each year.

Fortunately, information on whether you are an employee or an independent contractor is available. As you better understand your rights at the workplace, you can evaluate whether you need to seek assistance enforcing those rights.

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