New York Independent Contractors laws & HR compliance analysis

New York 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. For purposes of wage payment requirements, New York courts have ruled that the determination of whether an employer-employee relationship exists rests upon evidence that the employer exercises either control over the results produced or over the means used to achieve the results. Minimal or incidental control over an employee's work product without the employer's direct supervision or input over the means used to complete the work is insufficient to establish a traditional employment relationship (Bhanti v. Brookhaven Memorial Hosp. Medical Center, Inc., 687 N.Y.S.2d 667 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 1999)). Thus, the critical inquiry is the degree of control exercised by the purported employer over the results produced or the means used to achieve the results. Factors relevant to assessing control include whether the worker (1) worked at his own convenience, (2) was free to engage in other employment, (3) received fringe benefits, (4) was on the employer's payroll, and (5) was on a fixed schedule (Bynog v. Cipriani Group, Inc., 1 N.Y.3d 193 (Court of Appeals of New York, 2003)).
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Whether an employment relationship exists for purposes of unemployment compensation coverage is a factual issue for the Unemployment Insurance Appeal ...

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