small business

Employee vs. Independent Contractor: Worker Classification Rules

10.5.2017
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Many businesses try to hire “independent contractors” by issuing IRS Form 1099 and signing independent-contractor agreements. Unfortunately, these steps don’t guarantee that workers are legitimate subcontractors or independent contractors. Instead, federal and state guidelines generally focus on the worker’s job duties in order to determine the appropriate classification.

Each state can create additional rules and regulations pertaining to worker classification. Check with your state labor department for clarification on state-specific rules. However, the federal government’s guidelines, described below, generally provide enough clarity to determine proper worker classification.

Federal guidelines 1: IRS

The IRS […]

5 clauses that should be in every landscaping contract

“Will you look at my contracts and make sure they are good?” Our attorneys hear this frequently from contractors. So what does a good contract look like?

First, every contract is different. What works for some industries may not work in others. That said, several basic items should be addressed in every landscape installation contract.

Scope of Work. What will you be doing for the customer? What type of project is it? Be specific. The scope of work for each contract should be different and apply specifically to that customer and project. Let’s use a patio as […]

New employee classification tools available

12.30.2016
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Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a costly mistake. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the difference between an employee and an independent contractor depends on the circumstances under which work is performed. The distinction has major implications for wage and benefit structures. Unfortunately, businesses routinely fall into the trap of classifying workers based on external criteria – such as cost savings, independent contractor agreements, or franchise operation – rather than on work circumstances.

This winter, in an effort to reach both businesses and workers, the DOL added several misclassification resources to its website. The additions include a mythbusters page […]

St. Paul Sick and Safe Leave

09.21.2016
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The City of St. Paul recently passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide sick leave for employees. The ordinance, St. Paul City Ordinance 16-29 (available here), will be phased in beginning July 1, 2017. The ordinance is very similar to one passed earlier this year by the city of Minneapolis, but applies to all employers, regardless of size. If you’re an employer in the Twin Cities metro area, familiarize yourself with these requirements.

Leave Requirements
The ordinance requires employers to provide employees with one hour of sick/safe leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees may […]