Where does Wisconsin stand on independent contractors? It depends!
With recent guidance from the Federal Department of Labor (DOL) regarding independent contractors, employers have more incentive to review their current pool of contractors to ensure they are properly classified as such. For more information about the DOL guidance on independent contractors, see our July 15, 2015 post.
In Wisconsin, different tests govern whether an individual is considered an independent contractor for different laws. The test to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor for purposes of worker’s compensation is different than that for unemployment insurance. There is a separate test for the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act governing workplace discrimination, and yet another test for wage and hour issues in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has posted a useful online tool to help employers navigate these multiple tests.
Recently, DWD updated its page regarding the test for wage and hour issues to say: “The Labor Standards Bureau also follows interpretations of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in this regard.” There is now a link to the DOL guidance issued earlier this month.
A review of classification status of individuals currently identified as independent contractors is prudent. Done correctly, employers can manage risk associated with changes in status and work with their partners as employees or properly-identified contractors for continued success.