Working as an independent contractor is a great way to pay the bills while chasing your dreams, as it allows you the freedom to set your own hours. However, it’s important to realize independent contractors don’t have all the rights and protections of traditional employees, so you need to know where you stand. The last thing you want is to get caught off guard assuming you’re entitled to certain benefits that don’t actually apply to your job classification.

Learn some of the main differences between employees and independent contractors so you can decide if this type of work is the best choice for you.

Pay

Permanent employees are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL), making it illegal for employers not to pay minimum wage and applicable overtime expenses. As a contractor, you are not covered by the same protections — in most cases. Prior to starting a job, get on the same page with a prospective employer to negotiate a pay rate you’re comfortable with, and have that number written into your contract. It’s also wise to include a provision for overtime, so if you’re asked to work more than 40 hours during a one-week period, you’ll know upfront whether or not you’ll receive overtime pay.

Benefits

Employers are not required to provide contractors with benefits, so don’t expect to receive unemployment, health insurance, workers’ compensation or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions. If this is the first time you have served as a contract employee, you may not even realize all the protections you’re giving up. Having freedom as a contract worker is great, but make sure you’re in a position to handle not receiving unemployment checks if you’re laid off or workers’ compensation if you’re hurt on the job.

Paid Time Off

You’re free to take vacation days and sick days as a contract worker, but don’t expect to get paid for them. Paid time off is a perk reserved for permanent staffers, so you’ll have to plan your budget accordingly if you need a day off. Additionally, if your place of employment is closed due to a holiday, you won’t receive pay for the day — unless you happen to work for an extremely generous boss — so you’ll need to pick up extra shifts to make up for the deficit.

Searching for a job that fits into your hectic acting schedule? If you have experience in bartending, basic service, French service or catering, we have an opportunity for you. Contact us to learn more or get started today!