Are Independent Contractors Covered Under Workers Compensation?

A question that often comes up in regards to worker’s compensation issues is whether or not independent contractors are covered under this type of policy. Because independent contractors are not permanent employees, it can be difficult for employers to determine whether or not they are responsible for injuries to independent contractors performing a job for them. While this issue can vary from state to state, independent contractors are normally not covered because they are not permanent employees. However, in 2004 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a new law saying that employers are indeed responsible for securing Massachusetts workers comp for independent contractors unless certain criteria are met.
The new law created in Massachusetts establishes a presumption that a working arrangement between sole proprietors and independent contractors is an employer-employee relationship unless the following three factors are made clear:

1. The worker is free from the presumed employer’s control and direction in performing the service. Activities must be carried out with autonomy and independence. Contractors provide their own tools and materials and use their own approach without instruction or supervision. They determine their own hours.
2. The service provided by the worker must be outside the employer’s usual course of business. In the independent contractor is in the same trade as the employer’s own workers, there can be no determination of independence.
3. The worker must be customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, or profession of the same type. The contractor must be in an independent enterprise and truly working on his or her own.

If you’re an employer who already works with or is thinking of working with independent contractors, keep this list in mind for the future.

At Wolpert Insurance and Risk Management we want to help business owners get the information they need regarding workers compensation in Massachusetts. For more information, give us a call today.