Are newspaper carriers all considered independent contractors or are they supposed to be employees?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2015

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Are newspaper carriers all considered independent contractors or are they supposed to be employees?

I was provided the “equipment” I needed to start delivering papers for free but when I need more bags and/or rubber bands, it comes out of my paycheck, but my carrier bag doesn’t cost me anything as long as I return it when I no longer deliver papers. The newspaper company I deliver papers for has a paper 6 days a week, and I have a deadline that I need to meet each day. I was required to get a newspaper carrier accident insurance plan, as well. They deduct money from my paycheck whenever they have to send someone out to a customer who didn’t get a paper, and for any day that I don’t deliver papers on at all.

Asked on July 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

They are not "supposed" to be one or the other: it depends upon the amount of control they excercise over exactly how and when you do your job, as well as whether you have other businesses or customers or clients; whether you can make either make a profit or have a loss from your work (contractors can have a loss; employees can only have a profit); and generally how "independent" you are of them. This is a very fact-sensitive analysis; if unsure, you should consult with an employment law attorney, who can evaluate all the facts of your work in detail. The factors you mention could support you being an independent contractor or an employee; that is why you need a more detailed consultation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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