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Am I an independent contractor?

Produced by Julius Halstead, Greater Boston Legal Services
Reviewed February 2019

Probably not.

It is very hard to be an independent contractor in Massachusetts. You must meet a three part test. All 3 parts must be true. If any of the 3 parts is not true, you are an employee. You are an independent contractor if you are:

  • (1) free to control your own work and how you do your work
  • (2) working for a business which does not normally do the kind of work you are doing, or you are not working at any of the business’ locations, and
  • (3) you regularly work independently, doing the kind of work you are doing for the business.1

You are not an independent contractor if your employer supervises your work, and requires you to follow directions for how you do your work.

If you are not an independent contractor, your employer must pay for any tools you need for work; gas; insurance; repairs and other business costs.

Some employers call their employees “independent contractors” so they can save money. If your employer says you work independently, he can say that you need to pay for the tools you use and the other business expenses that he should be paying.  He may even charge you “shift fees” for the right to work.

In Massachusetts you can be an employee even if you just worked for one day for an employer.

If your employer is making you pay for things you should not be paying for, call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline (617) 727-3465.


1 G.L. c. 149, s. 148B; G.L. c. 151A, s. 2(c).

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