What is an Independent Contractor?

Updated: 2 days ago

You are a business owner that suddenly can’t handle all the work yourself, your team needs some extra support, or you would like to take steps continue to expand your business in different directions. In short, congratulations! As a business owner, growth in a business is an exciting time. Understandably, however, a business owner’s task of hiring their first or next employee can be daunting.


Sometimes when business owners hear the word “hire”, they may automatically think that the next step is to hire a traditional W-2 employee​. However, businesses have many options to find help, depending on the needs of the business and the skills that the business owner is looking to add or supplement.​ For today’s tip, however, we’ll describe the core elements used to describe an Illinois independent contractor. In future tips, we’ll discuss the potential risks and pitfalls of misclassifying employees as independent contractors and the elements of independent contractor agreements.


Note: Today’s tip will focus, at a very high level, on independent contractors in the State of Illinois. If you do business in or are operating in another state, labor and employment laws and definitions of independent contractors and employees may differ from Illinois laws and regulations. Additionally, if you have more specific or nuanced questions about the legal classification of independent contractors in Illinois and the laws and regulations governing their classification, you should consult an employment attorney. ​


What is an Independent Contractor? Most of us are familiar with the subjective idea of what an employee is – they are generally dedicated only to your business and work on what your business does. You, as the employer, pay them directly, give them certain benefits and instruct them on how and when they should work and what the final product or service should be. ​On the other hand, think of independent contractors as follows:


  • They are in business for themselves and are offering certain specialized services to other people or other businesses.​

  • They enter into contracts (i.e., independnet contractor agreements) directly with the employer to do a specific role or complete a specific task.

  • They likely set their own hours, use their own tools and can perform services or produce goods for more than one business at a time.

  • Their employers cannot control how they do their work.

  • They do not receive employee benefits (i.e. paid vacation, health insurance, unemployment, workers’ comp, contractual bonuses, etc.) and the independent contractor covers their own insurance and pays their own taxes.

Please contact Serna Legal Services at 312-601-9859 or info@sernalegalservices.com if you’d like to learn more about the classification of independent contractors in Illinois. Remember that with Serna Legal Services, your business will ¡Celebra!


This content is published by Serna Legal Services, LLC and is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing this content, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the publisher. The content should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.

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