Employee or Independent Contractor?

By: Sandra Weigel Kokal

Whether you are considered an employee or an independent contractor will determine whether you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. To determine your status these terms are defined under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

An employee is considered a servant defined as a person that performs services for another for valuable consideration, usually defined as pay. In addition, if:

1. the manner and means of performing the work are controlled by the master (or employer)

2. the tools needed to perform the work are supplied by the master, and

3. taxes are withheld,

the servant is considered an employee of the master. An independent contractor is not an employee because of the absence of this master/servant relationship.

There are a number of factors the workers’ compensation judge will consider in determining whether you are an independent contractor or an employee. These factors include:

1. the terms of the agreement between you and the employer;

2. the nature of the work;

3. the skill required for performance of the work;

4. whether it is a distinct occupation or business;

5. who provides the tools to perform the work;

6. whether the work is part of the employer’s regular business; and

7. the right to terminate the employment at any time.

Furthermore, in the construction industry there is the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act which must be looked at to determine whether one is an employee or independent contractor. This Act provides that an individual who performs work in the construction industry for pay is an independent contractor if:

1. the individual has a written contract to perform such services;

2. the individual is free from control or direction over the performance of such work; and

3. as to these services, the individual is customarily engaged in such trade, occupation or business.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider in determining if you are an employee or independent contractor. It is important to speak with an attorney to determine your status and your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured performing your job.

If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation benefits, contact an attorney at Abes Baumann.






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