Avoiding Misclassification in Pennsylvania

Helping Pennsylvania Employers Understand Proper Employee Classification

In Pennsylvania, employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for workers who are classified as independent contractors. They are also not required to provide independent contractors with the same benefits they provide to their employees, such as health insurance, paid vacation time, and sick leave.

Sometimes, employers mistakenly misclassify workers because they are unfamiliar with state laws regarding employee classification. Other times, employers intentionally misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid having to pay for insurance or employment benefits.

If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you may be missing out on important benefits to which you are entitled. For example, if you are injured at work, but are classified as an independent contractor, you may not receive workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injury. At Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C., we can help you determine whether you should be classified as an employee, so you can get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

What is an Independent Contractor?

Under Pennsylvania law, there is a presumption that workers are employees. A written agreement is not enough on its own to establish a worker’s status as an independent contractor; the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Board will consider a variety of factors in determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (DOL), to be classified as an independent contractor, a worker must be:

  • free from control or direction over the performance of their services, and
  • customarily engaged in that type of work through an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business.

Workers who perform services in the construction industry, for example, must have a written contract to perform their services, in addition to the two requirements listed above. Generally, independent contractors provide services without being under the direction of their employer. They act freely and independently as opposed to employees, who are under the direction and control of their employers.

Also, independent contractors typically use their own equipment to complete their work and receive payment by the job – whereas employees typically receive a salary or hourly wage, and are provided the necessary equipment to complete the job by their employer.

Another distinguishing factor is the character of the work involved. Independent contractors typically provide highly skilled work for more than one company, whereas employees are typically trained and employed by a single company.

What to Do if You Believe You Were Misclassified

Misclassification not only results in lower tax revenues, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation funds to federal and state governments; it also denies misclassified workers benefits and protections to which they are entitled, such as:

  • minimum wage
  • overtime compensation
  • family and medical leave
  • unemployment insurance
  • safe workplaces

The Pennsylvania DOL provides an online Worker Misclassification Inquiry form. Workers who believe they have been misclassified may fill out and submit this form to alert the government to a possible misclassification. It is also important for workers who believe they were misclassified as independent contractors to contact a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer who can ensure their rights are well-represented.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Misclassified Workers Get the Benefits they Deserve

If you believe you were misclassified as an independent contractor, or you were injured at work but denied workers’ compensation benefits based on your classification as an independent contractor, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We can help you determine whether you should be classified as an employee, so you can start receiving the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. We proudly represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County. To discuss your case, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.

Our legal team provides skilled representation to those residing in and around Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala CynwydBensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.

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