Hiring Independent Contractors- What You Need to Know
If you have decided that the position you want to fill meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law, there are a few things you should know before moving forward.
Written Contract: In an employment situation, it is not always necessary to have a written contract. When you hire an independent contractor, however, you should absolutely have one. You will want to spell out in writing the duties (hopefully in a way that tracks the legal requirements for a contractor), as well as terms of payment, duration of the agreement, and whether and how it can be terminated by either party.
Work for Hire: If you have an employee who creates intellectual property for you, that is considered "work for hire" under the law, and the intellectual property belongs to the employer. In the case of an independent contractor, in order to retain that benefit, you have to have a written agreement that specifies that intellectual property they are paid to create belongs to you.
Hedging your bets: If you are at all unsure about whether the classification will meet the legal test, but wish to proceed anyway, you can protect yourself from some of the most expensive risks by: (i) making sure timing of payments meets the requirements of the Wage Act; (ii) specifying that the contractor is not to put in more than 40 hours in a week without your prior written approval (to avoid overtime claims); and (iii) carrying workers compensation insurance that covers the contractor in case of a work-related injury.
Learn more here about the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law.
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