I have a freelancer who is stating that due to the short turnaround time between days of work his entire 2nd day is eligible for OT payments in addition to his daily rate. He is stating that ‘labor laws are a minimum of 8 hours between shifts’. I can not find anything that applies to an independent contractor where it would be required to have a minimum number of hours between shifts.

Rita Risser Chai replies:

In general, labor laws don’t apply to independent contractors, so you may be safe, though it would be best to consult a local employment lawyer because the laws vary by state. I am aware of no US laws requiring an 8-hour break between shifts, although such breaks are required in other countries, such as Canada. 

However, the first question to answer is whether this person actually meets the definition of an independent contractor. Many, many companies are losing on this question when they are audited by either the Department of Labor or the Internal Revenue Service. And the penalties for misclassifying employees as contractors are huge—in the multi-million dollars. So, it would be best if you have a local employment lawyer review your entire operation. Good luck.

Posted 02-26-2019

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