In Massachusetts, the relationship between employers and independent contractors can be complicated. Companies often seek to classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying employment taxes, providing benefits, or complying with labor laws. However, misclassifying workers can lead to legal issues, including fines and penalties.
To address this issue, the Massachusetts Attorney General has issued an independent contractor advisory, providing guidance for employers who classify workers as independent contractors. The advisory outlines specific standards that must be met for a worker to be classified as an independent contractor.
One key factor is whether the worker is free from the control and direction of the employer. This means that the worker must be able to control how and when they perform their work, without being micromanaged by the employer. Additionally, the worker must be engaged in a trade, occupation, or profession that is distinct from the employer’s business.
The advisory also emphasizes that the worker must be customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or profession related to the services performed. This means that the worker must have their own equipment, tools, and location to perform the work and must have a level of independence from the employer.
Furthermore, the advisory specifies that the worker must have a demonstrated history of being engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or profession. This means that the worker must have a track record of working independently as a contractor and not just be starting out.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s independent contractor advisory serves as a guide for employers to ensure they are properly classifying workers. Misclassifying workers can lead to significant legal and financial consequences, so it’s essential for companies to understand the standards for independent contractor status.
If you’re an employer in Massachusetts, it’s critical to consult with an experienced employment attorney to ensure that you are in compliance with the state’s labor laws. By doing so, you can protect your business and avoid costly legal battles.