Massachusetts Independent Contractors laws & HR compliance analysis

Massachusetts Independent Contractors: What you need to know

Whether a worker is an “employee” or an “independent contractor” is critical when it comes to such important issues as pension eligibility, workers' compensation coverage, wage and hour law, and many other matters. In some situations, federal law will govern, but the question is most often resolved by looking to state law, particularly in areas such as unemployment tax liability, workers' compensation, and state wage and hour requirements.
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The Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law excludes far more workers from independent contractor status than are disqualified under the traditional state and federal law tests, including the 20 factors test used by the Internal Revenue Service, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Massachusetts common law. For purposes of Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation and wage laws, the Independent Contractor Law creates a presumption that a work arrangement is an employer-employee relationship unless the party receiving the services can overcome the legal presumption of employment by establishing that the following three factors are present. First, the worker must be free from the presumed employer’s control and direction in performing the service, both under a contract and in fact. Second, the service provided by the worker must be outside the employer’s usual course of business. And, third, the worker must be customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same type (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 149 Sec. 148B).
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has specifically held that it is the right to control how the work is done, and not the fact that control is not actually exercised, that determines this factor ...

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