If you receive a 1099-MISC form, reflecting nonemployee compensation, you work as an independent contractor, not as an employee. Florida law provides several criteria to help determine your employment status. When you meet at least four points, you may claim the title of contractor and enjoy the freedom of guiding your own work. However, if you qualify as an employee, you deserve an hourly wage.
None of the paperwork associated with your job should contain the words "employee" or "employer," or you cease to be recognized as an independent contractor in the state of Florida. Instead, you apply to complete a specific job or service by providing a bid, accepting a contract, or crafting your own agreement that stipulates the terms of your work and your compensation. If you signed a contract establishing an employee and employer relationship, you are legally entitled to wages and any applicable perks, such as the accumulation of unemployment benefits and access to worker's compensation.
Self-Direction and Control
A business that engages your services for contract work must allow you to complete a task without micromanaging the process. Otherwise, the business steps over-the-line into employer mode. When you offer a quote for a job, include estimated costs for any tools and materials you need to purchase in the total, or add an extra charge to cover the cost of wear and tear to items already in your inventory. If you must work at a specific location and use tools and other materials provided by the business, your work is controlled by an employer.
Independent contractors earn funds on a commission or per-job basis according to Florida law, even if the contract continues over an extended period of time. For example, if you craft one quilt per week for a shop at a cost of $500 per quilt, each quilt is a “job.” As long as the contracting business allows you to control the intricacies of the process, you retain your status as a contractor. Similarly, if you earned a 25 percent commission on each quilt you sell through a consignment shop, the consignment shop considers you an independent contractor, since the shop itself was not involved in the creation of the item.
You are legally recognized as an independent contractor in the state of Florida when you have established a business with certain official trappings. If your business has a recorded location, an employer identification number, receives payments in the name of the business, or uses a bank account in the business name, you meet four different tests for confirming your status as a contractor.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners: An Overview of Workers’ Compensation Independent Contractor Regulatory Approaches
- Business Management Daily: The Florida Tests: Are Workers Employees or Independent Contractors?
- Business & Legal Resources: Florida Independent Contractors: What you need to know
Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.