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Increased contract work may mean more disputes

The days of consistent employment, complete with salaries and benefits, may be fading. The reality of today’s job market is shifting away from traditional job opportunities toward temporary contract work. While this change can offer workers more autonomy within their careers, it doesn’t come without drawbacks.

A new survey by NPR and Marist found that 32 million workers in America are now freelancers and contractors, half of which go without employer-provided insurance or retirement plans. The complicated nature of contracting calls into question legal protections, if any, for this large portion of the workforce.

Identifying your job status

The exact position of your employment status could be murky. Are you a temporary employee or an independent contractor? The answer may not be as clear-cut as it would be in a traditional job. This classification actually has a huge impact on your legal rights.

The law does not clearly define exact requirements between the two. Rather, your status is based on your duties and the value your labor provides to the company. It also depends on whether you or the company has more control over your work, which can be fairly subjective and unique between scenarios.

Your legal rights could be at stake

Employees typically receive more benefits, including overtime pay, than independent contractors due to federal law. Some independent contractors could be doing the same job as an employee for less compensation when not properly classified.

This opens up a whole host of conflicts, from discrimination claims to wage disputes. Employers are responsible for knowing whether you qualify as an employee versus a freelancer by law. Their failure to correctly classify you could cost you thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and lack of access to benefits.

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