Friday, February 19, 2010

Independent Contract Worker Woes

Today is my last day to visit so obviously I will be brief. I wanted not to dwell on the situation at hand but to get back to the first purpose of this blog, a little diversion for my mind.

This Sunday I had to purchase a newspaper when I went back to the hotel. I always use the coupons and it is a pleasure to relax and read the news and features and the comics of course. The front page had an article about companies that classify their employees as independent contract workers. They get out of paying benefits and workers comp for these employees so they can get the same amount of work from them for less. Some employees, don't know they are classified this way until they become injured and ask for workers comp. The construction worker they interviewed for this story was unaware of this until he fell at work and was told that he would have no help from workers comp because he was classified as an independent contract worker. He went through a financial nightmare because of his injury.

In our area newspaper delivery people are independent contract workers. They use their own vehicle and their own gas and they work very early yet brief hours. However, if they want a day off they have to find a replacement and train and pay them. I'm not sure if it works this way everywhere.

A large cable company has been sued in several states for classifying their employees as independent contractors. When we first moved to this state my husband applied for this company. They had a building where they did the interviews and the company name was not posted although this was the only company they worked for. They also had a page long list of tools they wanted you to buy from them before you could start. You could use your own tools if you already had them but there was about $300 worth that they wanted you to get from them. I'm glad my husband didn't work for them after considering it for several days. Months later we met some people that worked there and one who had quit. They all said they didn't make enough money to survive on.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it is common for the newspaper carriers to be independent contractors. I had four routes for three different papers when I was a junior high / high school / college student.

    One of my routes, thankfully, was all paid-in-advance per company policy for that neighborhood. I didn't have to worry about collecting the money. I just had to get the newspapers delivered.