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Employee vs. Independent Contractor: Understanding the Difference

March 9, 2024

The modern workforce is evolving, with an increasing number of individuals opting for freelance and contract-based work. However, this shift raises a crucial question: are you considered an employee or an independent contractor? Understanding the distinction between these classifications is essential for both workers and businesses.

This blog clarifies the key differences between employees and independent contractors, helping you determine your status and navigate the legal landscape accordingly.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor: A Breakdown

The primary distinction between employees and independent contractors lies in the level of control exerted by the hiring entity.


  • Control: Employers exercise significant control over how employees perform their work. This includes dictating work hours, schedules, tools, and even attire.
  • Benefits: Employees are typically entitled to various benefits, including health insurance, paid time off, and unemployment compensation.
  • Taxes: Employers withhold income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare from employee wages.

Independent Contractors:

  • Control: Independent contractors have more autonomy in performing their work. They are typically free to determine their schedules, methods, and tools used to complete the project.
  • Benefits: Independent contractors are not eligible for employer-provided benefits, including health insurance or paid time off. They are responsible for paying self-employment taxes.
  • Taxes: Independent contractors receive a 1099 form from the hiring entity and are responsible for paying self-employment taxes on their income.

Understanding the “ABC Test”

In determining worker classification, many states utilize the “ABC Test.” This test considers three factors:

  • Control: Does the hiring entity control the manner and method of work performed?
  • Behavioral: Is the worker integrated into the hiring entity’s business operations?
  • Financial: Does the worker have the opportunity for profit or loss based on their work?

If the answer to most of these questions is “yes” for control by the hiring entity, the worker is likely classified as an employee.

Did You Know?  Misclassifying workers as independent contractors can have significant legal and financial repercussions for both the worker and the hiring entity. Workers may miss out on crucial benefits, while businesses could face fines and back pay obligations.

Seeking Legal Guidance

The classification of employee vs. independent contractor can be complex, with nuances depending on specific circumstances.  If you’re unsure about your worker classification, consulting with an employment attorney is recommended.  An attorney can analyze your situation and advise you on the appropriate classification based on the law and relevant factors.

Do you have questions about employee vs. independent contractor classification?  The legal team at Kruse Law is here to help. Call us today at (973) 792-8992 to schedule a consultation and discuss your specific situation. We can provide clarity and ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities.

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