IOWA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REFRESHER: INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS
Independent Contractors are not generally entitled to coverage under the Act. Nonetheless, like self-employed persons, independent contractors can make a formal election to come under the provisions of the Act. IOWA CODE §85.61(11). In order to determine whether or not an employer-employee relationship exists, five important factors must be considered: (1) the right of selection, or to employ at will, (2) responsibility for payment of wages by the employer, (3) the right to discharge or terminate the relationship, (4) the right to control the work, and (5) the identity of the employer as the authority in charge of the work or for whose benefit it is performed. The Iowa Supreme Court has identified eight further factors to consider when determining whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor. Mallinger v. Webster City Oil Co., 211 Iowa 87, 851, 234 N.W. 254 (1931). No one factor is more critical than the next and the cases are all decided on a case-by-case basis. Usgaard v. Silver Crest Golf Club, 256 Iowa 453, 459, 127 N.W.2d 636, 639 (1964). The factors should be understood as part of a scale, balancing whether or not the relationship is more dispositive of an employee, or an independent contractor. For clarification purposes, reference to an individual in the following factors means the person in which it is to be determined whether he is an employee, or an independent contractor. The factors include:
- The existence of a contract for the performance by a person of a certain piece or kind of work at a fixed price.
- The independent nature of a person’s business or of a person’s distinct calling.
- The employment of assistants with the right to supervise activities.
- The obligation to furnish necessary tools, supplies, and materials
- The right to control the progress of the work, except as to final results
- The time for which the workman is employed
- The method of payment, whether by time or by job
- Whether the work is part of the regular business of the employer