Reducing Regulatory Burdens

Definition of Independent Contractors

There have been recent proposals in New York City to redefine Independent Contractors to be employees for the purposes of receiving paid sick leave and other COVID-19 related benefits. This would be devastating to non-profits and cultural institutions who often work with freelance artists. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that could have far reaching ramifications in the economy. Independent Contractors are, by definition, independent. To define them differently would create an undue burden upon employers to provide health and other benefits. Furthermore, employers who engage artists as independent contractors due so because of the intellectual property that the independent contractor retains upon their departure from the collaboration. If an independent contractor is suddenly defined as an employee, then their creations become works-for-hire and that intellectual property would then be owned by the company, not the artist. We cannot redefine Independent Contractor just for the sake of providing additional benefits to the individuals. Such benefits should be issued through programs designed for the independent contractor him/herself and not become a burden on employers. (There is the further complication of defining which employer would be responsible for covering an independent contractor's sick leave when that contractor has simultaneous engagements with multiple organizations.)

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Idea No. 3059