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Contractor vs. Employee - Workman's Comp...


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#1 Dan Coplan

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 01:55 AM

I'm being asked to sign an independent contractors agreement for a production company. It states that I'm responsible for all my own taxes blah blah blah, but it goes on to say that the production company has no liability or responsibility for worker's compensation insurance.

Can anyone help me make sense of this?

A friend told me that if I'm told to be at a certain place at a certain time to film something then I'm not an independent contractor, I'm an employee so would the contract then be irrelevant?

My research on the web indicates that if I'm an independent contractor and they do not assume responsibility for insurance, if I get injured there's no limit to how much I can sue them for whereas if they do accept responsibility, damages are limited by the insurance.

Does this sound right? I know nothing about how this works so I want to make sure I fully understand before I go signing anything.

Regarding being responsible for my own taxes, I couldn't care less - I do it all the time. Just don't want to be taken advantage of.

Thanks.

Dan "Just Wants to Work" Coplan
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:23 AM

I'm being asked to sign an independent contractors agreement for a production company. It states that I'm responsible for all my own taxes blah blah blah, but it goes on to say that the production company has no liability or responsibility for worker's compensation insurance.

Can anyone help me make sense of this?

A friend told me that if I'm told to be at a certain place at a certain time to film something then I'm not an independent contractor, I'm an employee so would the contract then be irrelevant?

My research on the web indicates that if I'm an independent contractor and they do not assume responsibility for insurance, if I get injured there's no limit to how much I can sue them for whereas if they do accept responsibility, damages are limited by the insurance.



Well,

It's a sticky situation. as far as the IRS is concerned (And they trump all when it comes to this) is that those "that materially participate in the creation of art" can be classified as independent contractors. That means Us, because we design shots and task crew-members to make it happen. The only others on the set that can be classified as independent contractors are: The Director (Duh) DP, 1st and 2nd AD's, Mixer, Wardrobe designer, production designer and specialty camera operators (But not conventional operators. the reason? We can say no, so says the IRS).

That doesn't mean that we HAVE to be independent contractors just that we can. Personally I would suggest not. I would explain to production that by them having workers comp protects them in the long run by limiting their liability.

Besides my research shows that a company employing more than FIVE people must carry Workers comp and liability insurance. If they wish to use my insurance to cover my gear I do charge an insurance premium that is equal to my deductible.
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#3 Kris Torch Wilson

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 10:24 AM

It is my understanding that here in California you can not be an independant contractor and supply your own workman's comp unless you have incorporated and are set up to do so. Several years ago the State put the brakes to us submitting an invoice to production companies because they (the State) were not getting their fair share. That's when all the payroll companies sprang up. You can invoice for your rig without being a corporation, but I'm pretty sure Labor is a no no. I would not feel comfortable signing such a deal with the production company. If you're not working in California it may be a different story.

Torch
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#4 David Luckenbach

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 12:23 AM

My research on the web indicates that if I'm an independent contractor and they do not assume responsibility for insurance, if I get injured there's no limit to how much I can sue them for whereas if they do accept responsibility, damages are limited by the insurance.

I'm no lawyer but this is a argument I get from prod. when I want to work as a 'Loan-out' under my Corp. and they don't want me to.
If you are a employee, you are covered by workmen's comp. (Which is their insurance) and if injured it covers their liability.
If you are a independent contractor you will not be covered by workmen's comp. and if hurt working on their prod. they have no liability insurance to protect them. You can sue. They are taking a big risk here to avoid paying payroll taxes on their employees.
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