Twenty Factors of the "Common Law Test"


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  1. Compliance with instructions. Employees must comply with another person’s instructions on when, where, and how the work is performed. In a true independent contractor relationship, the only control to which the contractor is subject is the result.
  2. Training required. Independent contractors are not normally trained but rather are hired for their expertise in a field.
  3. Integration of services into business operations. Employees’ services are usually a vital part of the daily operation of an employer’s operation.
  4. Services rendered personally. Employees personally render the services, while contractors may delegate such work to others.
  5. Hiring, supervising, and paying assistants. Usually individuals who perform all these functions are treated as independent contractors.
  6. Continuing relationship. Employees are usually hired for an ongoing period, while a contractor’s work ends when the job ends.
  7. Set hours of work. Employees usually must adhere to a work schedule established by the employer.
  8. Full-time required. Generally, employees work full-time for an employer, while independent contractors work when and for whom they choose.
  9. Performing work on the employer's premise. Those working at the employer’s site may be viewed as employees.
  10. Services performed in order or sequence set. Persons told to perform work in a certain sequence generally are considered employees.
  11. Oral or written reports. Employees are more likely to be required to submit regular reports to the employer.
  12. Payment by hour, week, month. Typically, employees are paid on a regular basis, while independent contractors are compensated by the job or on a lump-sum or straight commission basis.
  13. Payment of business and/or travel expenses. Employer payments of a person’s work-related travel expenses generally indicates employee status.
  14. Furnishing of tools and materials. Employees, not individual contractors, are generally provided with supplies.
  15. Significant investment. Individuals who have a significant personal investment in the facilities they use for work are normally independent contractors.
  16. Realization of profit or loss. Unlike employees, independent contractors realize a profit or loss based on their success in performing a service.
  17. Working for more than one firm at a time. Individuals who perform services for a number of employers are usually independent contractors.
  18. Making services available to general public. Individuals who regularly make their services available to the general public are usually treated as independent contractors.
  19. Right to discharge. Employees can be fired, while independent contractors cannot be discharged if they fulfill contract specifications.
  20. Right to terminate relationship without incurring liability. An employee can terminate his employment relationship with his employer at any time, whereas an independent contractor may be liable for breach of contract for leaving work unfinished.

Page modified 8/4/14