Comment from L Locke

I used to work as a tax preparer. I remember the young men who worked in construction who came in with their W-9, thinking it was a W-4. That means they thought they were an employee, with all benefits, including paid taxes. Instead they had been classified as an Independent Contractor with no idea about their expenses or that they owed all these taxes. They came in wondering how much money they would receive in a refund, and we had to tell them, “Nothing. In fact, you owe hundreds of dollars to the IRS.” This is definitely unfair when the person that works for a company doesn’t even know how that company classifies them.

I am presently an Uber driver and an independent editor. For driving, I work when I want. For editing, I charge what I want. For both, I love the flexibility. As a former tax preparer, I know the consequences of working as an IC: I pay my own taxes quarterly. I keep track of my expenses. I do not get unemployment. I do not get workers compensation. When I go out to drive, I don’t expect a certain wage just because the orders are slow. I understand the need for a driver rises and falls, so I take other things to do while I wait in my car. This is a life I prefer you don’t reclassify me out of. I DON’T WANT to be classified as an employee where the company tells me when I work. If someone wants to be paid a certain wage as an employee, I suggest they get a job with a company who will pay them as an employee. Even delivery services have such jobs. If someone prefers the flexibility of their working hours, then accept what goes with it.

Now, let’s talk about the ONCE-IN-A-CENTURY crisis. And it has been a crisis. As a food driver, I was fortunate to be considered an essential worker, and I was able to continue through the shut-down. Others have not been so fortunate. I was gratified to see that gig workers were able to receive unemployment to help them. They should get help. They made a life in working for themselves, and through no fault of their own, the country and the world suddenly changed, and every certainty and their very livelihood got pulled out from under them. It was unconscionable that so many big corporations received that money. But let’s also remember, these are unusual circumstances. Why should this crisis change how I am classified if I prefer to be an IC?

All that being said, a federal rule as to whether someone is an employee or an IC would be very helpful, especially for those who cross state lines. Part of that should be that the person understands the ramifications of being an IC and agrees to those conditions, not just a paper being signed, along with all the other papers people sign for employment with certain companies. In reading some of the other comments, I agree that construction and trucking are two areas that need special attention about whether someone is classified as employee or IC. I’m sure many independent contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) are used on construction jobs. I’m sure several independent truckers prefer their way of business. It’s for the people who work for a company and don’t know how they’ve been classified that I’m concerned about.

Comment ID: WHD-2020-0007-0515 | 23-Oct-20

Categorized under Flexibility, Independence

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