Labor Standards - Worker Classification

Six Part Test

Part Four - Special Skill

The degree of special skill required for the work.

Explanation of Part Four

The fourth part of the six part test to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is the degree of special skill required for the work.

Workers who have a special skill and exercise initiative in obtaining clients or jobs are more likely to be independent contractors. For example, some workers such as plumbers, electricians and accountants have special skills obtained through education and experience.

Workers whose jobs require a low level of skill and experience are more likely to be employees.

A worker with a special skill who advertises for work in the yellow pages, has business cards and has his or her own office is more likely to be an independent contractor.

A worker who performs routine tasks requiring little training in a facility belonging to the employer is more likely to be an employee.

A highly educated and skilled worker is not automatically an independent contractor because of the skill the worker possesses. For example, an accountant has a private practice. The accountant bears all the expenses of the practice and keeps all the fees from his or her clients. The accountant is an independent contractor. The accountant then closes his or her private practice and goes to work for a large accounting firm. The firm directs and controls what the accountant does by assigning work and setting hours and paying the accountant a salary and benefits. The accountant has become an employee.

Not all workers who do not possess special skills are employees. For example, a janitor who advertises his or her services and cleans offices for several different businesses may be an independent contractor because he or she is not under the direction and control of an employer.

Case Studies

The department has provided case studies from state and federal court decisions and from LIRC decisions relevant to the factors that make up the employee/ non employee test. View the case studies.

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