An employer is responsible for classifying each worker correctly. There are clear distinctions between independent contractors and employees. The misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor is punishable under both California and federal employment laws.
The high level of work independence is the main difference between independent contractors and employees. Independent contractors set their own schedules and determine the amount of hours they work. They choose the types of tasks they want to do.
Employees can choose between fulltime or part-time hours. Their schedules are predetermined by their employers, and they work under close supervision with other coworkers. While employees are under the constant threat of termination, independent workers are not supervised and receive few reprimands for their actions.
An employee often receives an hourly salary and is eligible to receive benefits. An independent contractor works on his or her own agenda and chooses when to take time off, so there are no provisions for paid leave, vacation days or other benefits.
Differences based on employment law
The differences between independent contractors and employees determine the extent of California employment law protections. Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor, whether intentionally or unintentionally, often results in a lawsuit and fines against the employer. The employees can be repaid for their missed wages and overtime during the periods of misclassification.
Independent contractors and employees have different duties, responsibilities and benefits. Independent contractors work on their own schedules with little or no supervision. Employees have a stronger loyalty to the company and are entitled to more benefits. Employers owe more benefits to their employees and are heavily fined if they classify them incorrectly.