Gray area is getting grayer.
March 16, 2010 3:34 PM Subscribe
Am I an employee or a contractor?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I work full-time for a small start-up company but am paid as a 1099 contractor. When I got the job two years ago, I signed a contract that called me an independent contractor. In fact, the contract states: This is not an offer of employment with the Company and does not bestow employee rights on the Contractor.
I go to the company's office and use their computer to work. After a year, I expected a raise, but was told that the company was still struggling financially. Instead of more money, I negotiated two days of work from home, and a nice title on my business card.
Another year has passed with no raise. Now, however, the owner has created a sick day and vacation day policy. For example, vacations lasting more than a week require six months notice, while hours lost due to things like doctor appointments must now be made up elsewhere in the week. The balance to this is that the boss is now offering paid vacation time if the notice requirements are met.
I've looked into this, and it seems contrary to my status as an independent contractor. It seems that the boss wants all the benefits of a freelance contractor -- mostly, not paying taxes -- but also wants the benefits of a W-2 employee, who would follow a policy for time off.
I'm beginning to think this whole set-up is illegal, but I'm not sure if I'm also to blame by letting this situation continue. Being expected to work on-site 35 hours a week as a 1099 was a red flag, according to just about everyone I've talked to. So I guess my questions are: Is this legal? Is it OK to be a 1099 and be expected to follow a sick/vacation time procedure? Should I even be a 1099 at this point? And can I address these issues without danger of losing my job?
I should add that everyone else at the company is a 1099. Half of the employees are part-time and some don't even have contracts -- just handshake deals.
Throwaway email for follow-up questions is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.