Length of Job Doesn’t Figure in Contractor Status

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. We're an at-will employer. Is there a law (or advisable benchmark) regarding how long we can hire temporary staff before they must be either hired on a permanent basis or released? —D.A., Michigan

A. No. A temp can be a temp for a day or a year. But regardless of how long or short a period they work for you, merely labeling temps as “independent contractors” does not automatically create such a relationship. The question of whether a temporary worker is an employee or independent contractor is very subjective. It depends on the circumstances of the relationship. In general, if a temp “looks, smells and sounds” like an employee and the company has a significant degree of control over the details of his work, he'll be viewed as an employee under the law.

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