Rivermate | Product owner - Andrew Simon

Global Work Glossary

What is misclassification and its implications?

Misclassification refers to the incorrect assignment of someone or something to an inaccurate group or category. This term is often associated with employee misclassification, wherein a worker is designated as an independent contractor despite being treated like an employee for tax and legal purposes.

Reasons for Misclassification

Companies may misclassify workers either unintentionally or deliberately to avoid taxes and employment-related costs. Hiring independent contractors is financially advantageous as it exempts companies from providing compensation premiums, benefits, and tax withholdings.

Impact on Workers

Misclassified independent contractors lack the legal protections afforded to employees, such as minimum wage laws, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance. In the US, misclassified workers are responsible for paying their own Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Identifying Misclassification

The nature of the worker's relationship with the company can indicate misclassification. Employees typically work exclusively for one employer, receive direct supervision, and adhere to a fixed schedule, while independent contractors operate autonomously, work for multiple clients, and manage their own schedules and tools.

Evaluation Methods

Government regulators, like the IRS, utilize tests such as the "Right-to-Control Test" to assess the degree of control a company exerts over a worker. Businesses should apply these tests to ensure proper classification and implement measures to prevent future misclassification.

Misclassification can have significant legal and financial ramifications for both companies and workers. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to accurately classify workers to comply with labor laws and protect employee rights.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

We're here to help you on your global hiring journey.