Question: Our company president’s teenage son has been hired to do what the president calls incidental work around our office this summer—scanning and filing documents, etc. He’s signed a “Professional Services Agreement,” which specifies that he will be paid $10 an hour. Payroll has been told not to put him on the payroll because he’s an independent contractor. We think he should be put on the payroll. Who’s correct?
Answer: You are. The proper classification of a worker as an employee or independent contractor doesn’t depend on whether a signed document classifies him one way or another. The critical determination is whether he qualifies as an employee under the common law test—that is, the company has the right to control his work.
You must be diplomatic, however, since it’s the boss’s son. Put your concerns in writing, and print and save copies of any response; you will eventually need them.