Virginia Independent Contractor and Employee Benefits

Not every worker in Virginia is an employee. The law allows workplaces to classify some of the people that do work for them as independent contractors. This classification is extremely important in determining the rights and protections of workers in the workplace.

While employees enjoy protections provided under federal and state laws, independent contractors can only expect to receive the terms specifically provided by their employment contracts. This means that employers have much greater rights to pay what they want to a contractor and a contractor would not be able to ask the government to intervene in a dispute.

Virginia independent contractor and employee benefits vary greatly. This can affect all portions of a person’s employment from the wages they collect, to the availability of overtime, to provided benefits. It is essential that people understand, which of these two categories they fall under and how a dispute may need to be resolved. If you have any questions, reach out to an experienced independent contractor lawyer.

The Rights of Employees

All employees in Virginia and the United States are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Also known as the FLSA, this federal law establishes the minimum wage for hourly workers and rules concerning overtime pay. All hourly workers must earn at least $7.25 an hour and all hours in excess of 40 in a week must be paid at one and a half times the normal hourly rate.

In addition, companies with at least 50 employees must provide some form of health insurance to their workers or pay a tax penalty. The use of independent contractors in place of employees allows some companies to avoid this requirement.

In short, employees enjoy protections concerning minimum wage and overtime. They are also offered fringe benefits in many situations. Finally, the Department of Labor has jurisdiction to investigate any violation of these rules on the part of employers.

Independent Contractor Benefits

By law, independent contractors are not guaranteed employee benefits. Since they are not employees, they are not covered by the FLSA. As a result, there are no minimum wage requirements for these workers nor are they paid overtime.

Instead, all benefits for independent contractors must be negotiated during the onboarding process. As the name implies, all independent contractors enter into contracts with their workplace. This contract typically outlines the type of work to be done, the rate of pay, and all other aspects of the employment agreement. This may include the issuance of benefit packages but usually does not.

As a result of the employment relationship being established by contract, independent contractors must sue their employers for a breach of contract if any dispute arises. This must be done without the aid of the Department of Labor. In the end, nothing is guaranteed in an independent contractor/employer relationship. However, if the benefit is outlined in the employment agreement, it must be provided by the workplace.

Virginia Independent Contractor and Employee Benefits Differ Greatly

Perhaps the most important understanding that a worker can have is whether they are an employee or an independent contractor. This determination may not necessarily be established by the parties involved, but instead may require legal analysis of the facts behind the relationship. As a result, many independent contractors believe that they are employees and vice versa. In fact, many employers may resist the reality that they have in fact hired employees not independent contractors

Employees are protected by federal laws concerning minimum wage, overtime, and certain benefits. Independent contractors have no such legal protection. Still, independent contractors have the freedom to work on their own terms and can negotiate contracts with employers.

It may be difficult for independent contractors to demand enforcement of their rights, especially in the case of wage theft. An attorney could help workers to determine their classification and rights under the law. Contact a lawyer today to learn more about Virginia independent contractor and employee benefits.