Can I still collect unemployment compensation if I am working as an independent contractor?

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Can I still collect unemployment compensation if I am working as an independent contractor?

Asked on February 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Typically, an individual who is self-employed is not eligible and does not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, you need to make sure that you were a true "independent contractor". As a general rule there are 2 requirements that must be met for an individual to be classified as an independent contractor for unemployment purposes. First of all, the worker must be free from control or direction over the performance of their services. For example, you were an independent contractor if you set your own work hours; chose which jobs tasks to complete and when, had your place of business (office) wherever you chose; or made the termination of your employment subject to contractual agreement. The second requirement to qualify as an independent contractor is that the worker be "customarily engaged" in an "independently established trade, occupation, profession or business"etc. For example, a lawyer, accountant, IT specialist, etc. Typically, for work to qualify as an independently established trade, etc., they must possess the essential tools, assets or equipment necessary to perform the services they give. So you would have had to have realized a profit or loss as a result of performing your services or maintained a seperate business location from the person/entity that you were perfoming the services for.


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