Independent Contractor Law in Florida For Employers
Serving You and The State of Florida
Florida businesses can choose to work with independent contractors for certain jobs, but there are rules and regulations that must be followed related to hiring these kinds of workers. These kinds of workers can help you during times of peak workload or when special events or services are being offered for a short time. You might also utilize the services of this kind of employee when you have specific skilled tasks that need to be attended to for a short period of time.
Knowing how independent contractor law works in the state of Florida is key. Some businesses only hire these kinds of staff from time to time, and it can be easy to make mistakes related to the hiring process and the contract management process. Working with a skilled legal team like the employment lawyers at Lopez Law can make all the difference when it comes to managing your independent contract staff.
What is an Independent Contractor in the State of Florida?
Independent contractors in Florida are defined by some clear differences from regular employees. Employers and their HR teams need to know which kind of staff they are hiring to offer a legal employment contract to each kind of team member. An independent contractor in the state of Florida is defined as someone who:
- Reports payment of $600 or more per year on the IRS form 1099.
- Is compensated for a specific task and is usually only paid when the work related to that task is completed.
- Payment to contractors is due after an invoice is sent to the employer.
- The terms of the contract that was created by the independent contractor and the hiring entity must be followed regarding payment as well as employment limitations and guidelines.
- Employers do not report independent contractors for state or federal unemployment insurance or Worker’s Compensation.
- Independent contractors are not covered by employment or labor laws.
- Independent contractors are not offered benefits like vacation or sick time. They are typically also not eligible for 401k contributions or health insurance.
These considerations can be difficult to define in some cases, particularly if the independent contractor is coming into the office and working alongside regular employees. It can be easy for there to be mistakes in the way that a contractor is expected to work while in a contract, and this can lead to legal disagreements between a contractor and a place of business.
The US Supreme Court has stated that there is no one test that makes an employee an independent contractor and that various tests must be done to verify if this is the status of the employment of someone who was hired on a contract basis. Both workers and employers are required to create an employment contract that is fair and legal before any work is done by the contractor.
This can lead to a variety of places where errors are made. This is one of the key reasons that you need to have access to the guidance of a skilled legal team. Creating legal independent contractor agreements is key if you want to avoid legal wrangling with contract staff later on. This is one of the services that a legal expert can offer to your Florida business, and having someone with experience in this kind of contract creation can help save you time and trouble later on.
Which Laws Protect Independent Contractors in Florida?
There are various laws that Florida has on the books related to independent contract staff. These laws follow federal law. The legal guidelines for this kind of employee relate to:
- The control over the details of the work that is being done.
- The supervision that the employee agrees to while doing the tasks in the contract with the employer.
- The duration of and exclusivity of the contract and relationship to the company.
- Written agreements that define the scope of the contracted agreement.
- Which tools are provided by the employer to allow for the job to be done by the contractor.
Independent contractors are required to take care of their own state and federal taxes and are not W2 employees. They will report their earnings on a 1099-MISC form, and they do not receive overtime pay. When employers report the work of staff on a W2, this automatically changes their status to that of the employee. This common mistake can lead to legal action taken by the contractor against the company they are contracted to work with.
There are independent contractor labor laws that Florida employers must follow as well. The contractor is required to know what these laws and regulations are as well, but the employer needs to be certain not to violate these regulations. This is another key area where the support of a skilled legal team can be of great assistance. Painting all employees with the same labor law brush can lead to issues with the treatment of independent contractor staff.
Certain industries have different labor laws related to contract staff that must be adhered to as well. Being sure about the labor laws for these kinds of employees within your industry is key for all business owners in the state of Florida. If you are not sure what your industry’s labor laws are regarding independent contractors, the team at Lopez Law Group can advise you about the requirements and limitations of these laws. Being sure that you include all the right information in your hiring contracts is critical, no matter if the employee in question is a contractor or regular full-time staff.
What Happens if an Employee is Misclassified?
While this is not common, it is possible to misclassify staff when they are hired on a contract basis. This is rarely done with any intent to cause trouble for the employee, but employees might be within their rights to sue for misclassification. This is most common in specific industries where the line between contract staff and full-time employees can be blurry.
Delivery and courier drivers, maintenance workers, hospitality staff, and even healthcare workers are misclassified on a regular basis. This can lead to expensive legal cases which could have been avoided. For Florida employers who have found out that they have misclassified someone who is working for them, it can be daunting to figure out how to make the situation right and even more intimidating to attend to the legal action that is likely to follow.
The team at Lopez Law Group can help your business to secure a favorable outcome during settlement proceedings related to this kind of case. Presenting the correct information during this part of the legal case can be key to making sure that your employee is not held accountable for actions that were not taken intentionally. Settlement in these cases can involve paying wages that are due and resolving the contract without completion of the work that was requested due to various problems.
The team at Lopez Law Group will work hard to secure a favorable outcome for your settlement. If the person suing your business will not agree to a settlement, the skilled legal experts at our office can help represent your case if it goes before a judge. Careful research and thorough presentation is necessary in these cases to defend the rights of an employer who made an error, and we can take care of this part of your defense with ease.
Do Independent Contractors Receive Training?
One of the key aspects of an independent contractor arrangement is that the contractor is not entitled to, nor should receive training from the hiring entity. This is one of the areas where there can be a lot of confusion regarding independent contractor staff in the state of Florida. While there are some industries where this kind of question is easy to answer, such as the construction industry, things can be more confusing when it comes to hiring someone to help with office tasks or paperwork-based jobs.
Regardless of the type of work that the contractor is doing for a company, there should be no training required for them to do their job. If it turns out that the person who is being hired as a contractor needs extensive training, the employer will need to determine if reclassification would be required by law. These kinds of checks can be hard to do as a business owner, but the team at Lopez Law can work with your HR staff to create protocols for these determinations.
Avoid Legal Issues for Your Business With Independent Contractors
If you own a Florida-area business and you are concerned about the correct hiring and management of independent contractors, you need to reach out to us today. The team at Lopez Law Group can help you to verify the status of these kinds of employees, create HR processes to work with these staff members and take care of legal representation if you should be sued by a contractor who is working with you. Contact us today and let us help you to correctly navigate independent contractor law in the state of Florida.
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