Avoid time sheets for independent contractors

Q. Does asking independent contractors to complete a time sheet jeopardize their independent contractor status? —P.M., Washington, D.C.

A. It depends. On the one hand, companies should exercise as little control as possible over the means and manner in which an independent contractor performs his or her work. On the other hand, if you pay the independent contractor based on the number of hours spent on a project, you need to know how many hours have been worked. In that case, have the contractor bill you instead of completing a time sheet.

If you don’t need to know the number of hours worked in order to compensate independent contractors, you should not have them complete time sheets, as that could be used as evidence against the company if workers later claim that they were employees.