Independent Contractor Versus Employee Classification
Independent contractors are not covered under the Workers’ Compensation Law. This issue can be confusing because some employers will classify someone as an independent contractor even though they treat them as an employee. Some employers will have an individual sign an independent contractor contract, noting in writing that they’re working as an independent contractor.
Any time there is a question as to the classification of an employee versus an independent contractor, there are several factors that the North Carolina Industrial Commission will look at in order to determine the correct classification. These factors include…
- The work schedule – Whether or not the individual can set their own schedule or if it’s dictated by the employer.
- How the individual is paid – Whether they’re paid by the hour or by the job.
- What supplies are offered – Whether supplies are provided by the employer or the individual.
- What tools or vehicles are supplied – Whether the employer provides tools and vehicles or the individual acquires them for themselves.
- Additional workers – Whether the individual can bring on additional workers to complete a job, or the employer controls what workers are present.
These factors and many more will become important in terms of that correct classification. Any time this issue comes up, it’s recommended that you speak with a board-certified workers’ compensation specialist. A specialist can gather information in order to offer insight and give advice based on the individual’s particular facts. They can help you to decide if there may be an ability to argue that you’re an employee despite the classification offered by the employer.
The Three Types Of Workers’ Compensation Payers
Some workers’ compensation insurance policies are set up so that the employer just pays a workers’ compensation insurance premium. The employer can pay their premium each month, quarterly, or annually. When the employer pays a workers’ compensation premium, the insurance company pays out to any injured employee who is entitled to benefits.
In cases where the employer is paying their insurance company a workers’ compensation premium but still has a deductible, that employer will initially pay out benefits until the threshold for their deductible is met. An employer’s deductible and premiums are negotiated between the employer and their insurance company.
Very large employers tend to be self-insured for workers’ compensation insurance. That means that the employer is setting aside money in reserves monthly, quarterly, or annually. Those reserves are then used to pay the workers’ compensation benefits should there be an employee who is entitled to compensation for a work-related injury.
Even if an employer is using reserves to pay workers’ compensation benefits, they will often still use an insurance company to assist in the investigation of the case, payment of the benefits, and coordination of medical treatment.
When You Should Return To Work Following A Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are times when an employer will offer for an employee to return to work following their workers’ compensation claim on the basis of assigning them a light workload or restricted duties that shouldn’t impact the individual’s injury. It’s important to consider the offer carefully and decide whether or not it’s in your best interest to return to work sooner than you were expecting.
Once a work-related injury occurs, a doctor will designate any type of work restrictions or limitations. If your employer is offering work, the first question should be whether or not the work being offered is within your doctor-designated restrictions and limitations. If you aren’t sure, a job description can be requested from the employer and you can have your treating physician review the description to advise whether or not the duties are safe and appropriate.
There are times that not returning to work at the employer’s request when the treating physician approves it, even if there is no requirement that the employee return to work, can create an argument by the employer that they don’t owe any type of disability benefits.
Any time someone is concerned about returning to work and about the position being offered, it’s advised that they speak to a board-certified workers’ compensation specialist. A specialist will be able to help you navigate the process in terms of verifying exact job duties and obtaining the physician’s opinion as to whether or not the job is safe and appropriate. .
For more information on Workers Comp For Independent Contractors, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (833)444-4127 today.