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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Should an Independent Contractor be Paid During Standby Time

    My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Massachusetts

    Question on behalf of my 16 year old daughter.

    She works as a referree in the state of Massachusetts. When games are assigned, she needs to "accept" or "decline" them on a game by game basis. Standby games are also listed individually and she needs to accept or decline them.

    My question is, since her jobs are accepted on a game by game basis, can they require her to accept those unpaid standby games? There is no minimum or maxium acceptance requirement. Those standby games can come at any point of the day, including the end. So while I'm assuming they will use the standby games as a forced break, there is a chance that she would be needed and wouldn't get a break. There is also a chance that she could wait at the field for a standby game that is at the end of the day and not be needed so she doesn't get paid even though she has been sitting there for over an hour to see if she is needed.

    The schedule they currently gave her looks like this:

    8-8:30 - standby
    8:40-9:10 game
    9:20 - 9:50 game
    10-10:30 - standby
    10:40-11:10 game
    11:20 - 11:50 game
    12:00 - 12:30 -standby
    12:40-1:10 game
    2:20-1:50- standby

    She is getting push back for not accepting the standby game. They aren't hiring her for a block of time at an hourly rate. They are hiring her per game at a set rate.

    Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,043

    Default Re: Standby Time - Accepting or Declining - Massachusetts

    First Massachusetts has a significantly stricter law on who is and who isn't an independant contractor I do not have much experience with it but it creates a presumption that “an individual performing any service” is an employee and not an IC. unless the overcome these three hurdles...

    (1) that the worker is free from its control and direction in performing the service, both under a contract and in fact;

    (2) that the service provided by the worker is outside the employer’s usual course of business; and

    (3) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession or business of the same type.

    But let's assume she is an IC. If so there really aren't any break requirements for ICs. And if she doesn't want to accept the standby games then she doesn't have to though they may find someone that is more agreeable. The fact that you could lose money is one of the normal tests for an IC and time is money.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Standby Time - Accepting or Declining - Massachusetts

    Thank you PayrolGuy!

    All of our initial paperwork was filled out as an Independant Contractor. I know they don't withhold any taxes from her paycheck and she needs to file accordingly at the end of the year. Whether or not they are within their legal rights to call them ICs, I do not know.

    I appreaciate your time!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,960

    Default Re: Standby Time - Accepting or Declining - Massachusetts

    Quote Quoting wdwfamily
    View Post
    All of our initial paperwork was filled out as an Independant Contractor. I know they don't withhold any taxes from her paycheck and she needs to file accordingly at the end of the year. Whether or not they are within their legal rights to call them ICs, I do not know
    It's time you found out.

    The following advisory from the MA Attorney General provides a comprehensive explanation of the law:

    http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workpla...r-advisory.pdf

    Where statutes are cited you can read them at:

    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws

    I suggest you contact the Fair Labor Division and have them look into it:

    http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-busine...forcement.html

    If your daughter gets hurt on the job without WC insurance covering her, you'll be back here in a heartbeat asking "What are my rights? Can I sue?"

    Best to get it worked out now, even if she loses that job.

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