When it comes to being an employee there are different ways that workers can be classified. The classification is what determines when and how an employee receives compensation for work performed. Some workers are hourly, some receive salaries and others are considered independent contractors.
If you are an independent contractor then you and your employer should have an agreement in place prior to accepting the job that establishes the job to be done and the rate of pay being offered. There should also be a clear indication of when you can expect payment.
Some independent contractors are paid immediately upon receipt of the final product. Others send an invoice and receive payment upon receipt of the invoice. Some employers have a payment schedule for their independent contractors, such as a net-30 or net-60 schedule, which means that independent contractors are paid based on a set schedule either within 30 or 60 days.
The bottom line is that once the work is completed, independent contractors are entitled to their pay. If the payment date comes and goes without payment, then you need to take action.
Know Your Classifications
An hourly employee is paid an established rate for a certain number of hours of work, with a full-time hourly employee generally working a 40-hour week. Salary employees receive a base level of pay with no restrictions on the number of hours worked. Hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay (at a rate of 1.5 times the wage) while salary employees do not receive overtime.
Independent contractors are paid per project, with a predetermined fee and duration of the assignment. When the assignment is complete, the contractor is paid.
Some companies hire independent contractors to perform tasks such as consulting, IT upgrades and special projects like website design, among many other things. The benefit to hiring an independent contractor is that the company can hire an expert for the project and does not have to have the contractor on staff, which saves them money.
Employers also appreciate independent contractors because they don’t have to pay for benefits and they also do not pay as much in taxes for them. Unfortunately, some employers try to avoid paying more taxes by improperly labeling their employers as contractors, so if you believe you are an hourly employee then make sure you receive the correct payment. This would be considered wage theft, and it is against the law.
It is very important to understand your classification because if you are working as an hourly employee but you are classified as an independent contractor, you will not receive overtime payments and you will not receive benefits. Correct classification is very important.
What To Do If You Are Not Being Paid As An Independent Contractor
If you were hired as an independent contractor, make sure you keep all of your hiring documents so that if any issues arise you can confirm your classification and the terms of your hiring agreement.
In the event that you are not paid for the work you completed, then you need to find out why you have not been paid. Remember that there are different payment terms for every employer, so you need to check your contract to see what the payment terms are. If the 30 days have passed and you should have been paid, then you need to speak with the hiring supervisor or the manager you worked with. If you get no results from your inquiry, then this would constitute wage theft and you need to take action.
Make sure it is clear that you are classified properly in your contract. If you have daily tasks assigned to you, then you may have been improperly classified as a contractor when in fact you are performing the job requirements of an hourly employee.
If you take your concerns to the company and receive no resolution on the matter, you may need to file a complaint. To help determine the next steps, you might also speak with an employment law attorney.
How An Attorney Can Help
When it comes to employment law cases, all legal fees are covered by the employer if you win your case so there is every reason to have a consultation to find out what you can do.
An employment law attorney can examine your contract to determine how your position has been classified and how you are entitled to be paid. They can also determine if your job was improperly classified. You might have been working an hourly job while being labeled as a contractor, in which case you could be entitled to back pay and damages.
Working with an attorney will not guarantee that you win your case, but it can greatly improve your chances of a successful resolution to your case.