The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The Rights of an Independent Contractor

With more and more people shifting to a work-from-home situation, the perks of becoming a remote worker are more alluring than ever. That being said, some people no longer want to offer their skills on a 9-to-5 basis. They want to have a bit of flexibility and get the opportunity of being called their own boss. Thus, they become independent contractors, functioning separately from the company that hired them.

But what are your rights as an independent contractor? How much of your job can you control, and how much power does your employer have over you? In this article, we will discuss your rights as an independent contractor so that you do not come across any surprises.

1. The Right to Work However You Want

When you work for someone else, like for a standard 9-to-5 job, the manager may or may not have a say as to how you do your job. For instance, they may require you to use a certain program when working, or following a series of steps. They may also provide further instructions regarding how they want you to perform that task.

When you are an independent contractor, things are different. Unless it is specified in the contract that you need to do your work in a certain way, you have the right to choose your style. As long as you give them results, they don’t have a say about how you get there.

2. The Right to Work from Wherever You Want

One of the reasons why independent contractors are on the rise is that they no longer have to show up at the office or cubicle. Unless it is specified in your contract that you need to show up for meetings or the project requires face-to-face presence, you can work from wherever you want.

For most independent contractors, this would be a home office. However, if you want to change your work point to a coffee shop or a beach in the Bahamas, the client has no say in that matter. As long as you give them results and respect their contract, they cannot tell you where you can or can’t do your job from.

3. The Right to Work When You Want

The usual employee will show up at work at a specific hour, join the meetings when they are set, and follow the schedule assigned to them by their employer. They also have assigned meal breaks and can only clock out at a certain hour.

With independent contractors, things are different. You have the right to manage your own schedule or business. For instance, under New Jersey Law, an independent contractor is seen as a business owner in partnership with another business. Therefore, if an employer terminates you for not joining that 9 AM meeting, a New Jersey employment lawyer can easily help you get justice.

4. The Right to a Written Contract

Many employers out there may not want to go by written contracts for a simple project because they are too troublesome. They prefer verbal agreements with the promise that work will be delivered throughout the project. Many contractors even agree with it, hoping they could earn some quick cash.

That being said, as an independent contractor, you have the right to a contract. This contract should define the nature of your business relationship, stating clearly that you are a contractor and not an employee. At a minimum, the contract should contain the project description, a deadline, payment terms, and conditions for termination.

5. The Right to Hire Other Contractors

As an average employee, you need to show up to work and perform the jobs that the boss gives you. You are expected to do the job yourself, without delegating it to other employees or people that you believe can do the job.

However, when you are an independent contractor, you should hire other independent contractors to delegate the tasks to. This is very common when you are a general contractor and decide to hire a niche contractor to do part of the job. The company that hired you cannot tell you anything if you decide to bring others on board, but make sure that you let them know about it.

The Bottom Line

Independent contractors have rights that an average employee may not have access to. This may save you a lot of trouble by simply knowing your rights. Make sure to have a well-defined contract drawn, as you will only need to follow through with what’s written there.

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