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Independent Contracting

Freelance Careers

For some, freelance employment offers the opportunity to more directly follow career passions and manage alternative responsibilities. For others, freelance careers and independent contracting are appealing for the joy of independence or the freedom of working at home, often at your own pace and schedule.

Whatever the motivation, you may consider discovering the unique world of freelancing. Learn about working as an independent contractor and find contract jobs to work from home.



Freelance Careers

According to the U.S. State Department, "Another portable skills area includes those hobbies or special interests that you carry with you -- such as cooking, photography, or gardening. Spouses often turn these into jobs, usually freelance, depending upon the needs of the American or local community, language, and work restrictions, etc. The potential in this freelance area is almost limitless."

Independent Contracting

As explained by Business.gov, "Commonly known as consultants, freelancers and self-employed, independent contractors are individuals hired to do a particular job, receiving payment only for work being done. Independent contractors are business owners, and are not their clients' employees. They do not receive employee benefits or the same legal protections as employees, and often responsible for their own expenses.

Legal Distinctions of Independent Contractors, Freelance Workers

Because you or your client call you an independent contractor doesn't mean that you are one. There are legal requirements that classify workers into employees and independent contractors. Before starting your first job (or even or next one), it's important to become familiar with these distinctions.

As an independent contractor you do not have the same legal rights and protections as employees:

  • You are paid for the work performed. Your clients are not required to pay employee benefits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including overtime and minimum wage
  • You are not covered under your clients' workers' compensation benefits
  • You are not entitled to receive your clients' employee benefits
  • You are not covered under Equal Employment Opportunity laws as they apply to your client's relationship with its employees
  • Your taxes are not withheld and paid by your client, including income, FICA and unemployment
  • If your client misclassifies you as an employee, they may be required to pay back taxes, and provide employee benefits, workers' compensation, unemployment, and more.

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