Offered 1099 Work or To Be Paid Under the Table?
Getting paid “under the table” seems like a good thing when it’s happening. Being told “this job is a 1099 job” often doesn’t seem like a big deal. People who have not worked in a while, desperate for any job they can find unknowingly accept these terms of work and pay as if it is a good thing, even when it probably is not.
Working as a 1099 employee isn’t a bad thing when it’s done right and when both parties know the risks and benefits. I’ve worked many 1099 jobs (or gigs) but with the awareness that I have to make a conscious effort to make sure I fund my own income protection insurance, health insurance as well as my retirement fund. Additionally, I must make sure I pay (or save money to pay) the federal, state, and self-employment income tax I will be assessed during tax season. I am likewise aware of the benefits of working as a 1099 employee, such as complete flexibility in how and where I do the work, ability to write-off tons of justifiable business expenses and the ability to negotiate pay and payment terms.
When you work as a 1099 employee, you cannot simply think about the monies the employer is presently putting in your hand. You should understand that if you get sick or injured there is no such thing as “sick pay” or “workers’ compensation” for you. If the work decreases and there is no longer a need for you, you will not be able to collect unemployment benefits. You, as the “business owner” have to think ahead; you have to think of how to protect your health, your long-term quality of life, and your personal finances.
Take a look at this video on the misclassification of employees:
While this video focuses on labor-intensive jobs, the same risks exist for other types of job opportunities as well. You could get carpal tunnel or some other repetitive strain injury as a result of work you’re doing; or you could get in a car accident while conducting work-related business. As a 1099 contract employee, the employer would not be responsible for any medical expenses you would incur and would most likely terminate the work contract with you and hire someone else to complete the job.
This is just a little something for you to think about…
I don’t want to shed a completely bad light on 1099 employment; like I said, I have taken many 1099 contractor positions. I do, however want you to know your rights, and I want you to be ready to responsibly exert with those rights as needed.
I sometimes see job ads claiming to be a 1099 contractor position that actually legally violates the terms of this employment status. Here are some examples from jobs found on craigslist:
This craigslist job posting violates independent contractor laws because the employer can not require the contractor to regularly report to work at set hours. The contractor must maintain control over his/her schedule.
Job: Part-Time Receptionist (foster city, CA) Posted: 2012-04-02
Terms: Hours starting at 25 hours per week, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM or around that time frame.”
This craigslist job posting, while laying out many details and requirements of the job, has just enough flexibility to maintain it’s 1099 status; however they may be skimming the surface by naming the pay rate because 1099 contractors have the right to negotiate their own pay and payment schedules:
Job: Outreach Consultant for Educational Services Company $50 hour (Bay Area, CA) Post Date: 2012-03-19
Rate: $50 per hour ($25 per hour for Driving Time); Bonus potential!
Terms: Approximately 20 Hours per week (14 hrs. regular rate and 6 hrs. driving rate), 10 Months per year — No hours: 6/25-7/31 (summer), Thanksgiving Week, 2 Winter Holiday Weeks, Schedule: Flexible. Must be able to attend evening and weekend events.
This craigslist job posting seems to legitimately allow the contract employee with the flexibility he/she is legally entitled according to the law:
Job: Drapery/Blind/Shade Installer (San Jose south) Post Date: 2012-04-02
Terms: Work is part time to full time depending on the amount of work we have and your availability. We need someone who can work at least 3 days a week. We will schedule multiple jobs for you on days you agree to work for us. Your pay will be based on our window covering install price sheet…
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