Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the characteristics of an independent contractor?

In trying to ascertain whether or not an employee is a contractor, a useful gauge is to look at the relationship between the employer and employee with some of the following factors which may be indicative of a contractor:

·         whether a written or oral agreement exists;

·         the level of direct supervision in relation to the work undertaken;

·         evidence of a separate business.

Generally speaking, employees are deemed to be an agent of the principal employer and will be paid for the provision of labour, and as a consequence, employees will usually be engaged under a contract of service. In contrast, contractors are usually independent actors with employers having vicarious liability for the actions of a contractor, and as a consequence, contracts will usually be engaged under a contract for services.

The general rule of thumb for contractors is that such employees are usually asked to perform a particular assignment, or to produce a particular result, with payment tied with the completion of the assignment, or achieving the desired result.


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