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Independent Contractor

Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer: This is not intended as a full and complete description of the law, nor is it intended as legal advice. Also, this information may be subject to change.

Click on each question to show the answer.

1. Who is an independent contractor?
An independent contractor is someone who maintains an independent business and is available for hire to provide service to the public. Generally, a person cannot become an independent contractor just because he or she wants to be or because an employer prefers them to be. It is not enough that the employee and the employer agree. If a person only works for one business and is directed and controlled by that business, the person probably is an employee and not an independent contractor.
2. If I am considered an independent contractor, do I have any filing requirements?
Yes, effective January 1, 2001, independent contractors should have on file with the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) a Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor (DWC-11-IC) form, which is available at the Department.
3. What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?
Many factors are considered when determining whether someone is an employee or independent contractor. Some of those factors are: Independent contractors set their own hours, use their own tools, work when and for whom they choose, and are responsible for paying their own State and Federal withholdings.
4. What is the difference between a sole proprietor and an independent contractor?
Many circumstances contribute to this determination, and sometimes there isn't a difference. A sole proprietor can act as an independent contractor and when they do, they should file the DWC-11-IC form. If a controversy arises, a determination may be made by the Workers' Compensation Court
5. As an independent contractor, am I entitled to collect workers' compensation benefits if I am injured?
No, you are exempt from the RI Workers' Compensation Act and are not eligible to collect benefits. For purposes of workers' compensation, domestic employees, independent contractors, sole proprietors and partners are exempt. For further information on exemptions and coverage requirements contact the Education Unit at (401) 462-8100 option 1 or
6. As an independent contractor I occasionally hire employees; should I obtain workers' compensation insurance coverage?
Yes, as of January 1, 1999, all RI employers of one or more employees are required to obtain workers' compensation insurance. If you hire an independent contractor, they should provide you with either proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage or a copy of a DWC-11-IC form, which has been filed with the Department of Labor and Training.
7. Can you give me an example of who may be required to file a DWC-11-IC form?
If a homeowner hires an independent contractor such as a landscaper, the landscaper does not need to have a form on file because the homeowner is not in the business of landscaping. However, if you, as an independent contractor hire the landscaper as part of your business, you should be sure that the landscaper has a DWC-11-IC form on file with DLT, which will remain in effect, unless withdrawn, for every time that particular independent contractor works for you. Also, should that landscaper hire independent contractors to work for him/her, forms should be completed for each independent contractor hired.
8. How do I file a Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor form?
To obtain this form (DWC-11-IC), call DLT at (401) 462-8100 option 5. The form is also available on our web site: DWC-11-IC. Once completed, submit the form to the RI Department of Labor & Training, P.O. Box 20190, Cranston, RI 02920-0942. The original form will be kept by the Department. The independent contractor and hiring entity will receive by mail a "Notice of Designation" as evidence of the filing. The notice will contain the names of the independent contractor, the hiring entity, and the date the form was received by the Department..
9. When do I file a Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor?
You should file a form whenever you are contracted to work for a hiring entity. A separate form should be on file for each hiring entity you work for.
10. How long does this form remain in effect?
The DWC-11-IC will remain in effect as long as, and any time you work for the named hiring entity. For example, if you are generally hired to work for three different hiring entities, as long as you have a form on file for each, you do not have to file another form for every new job with those entities. Only the filing of a Notice of Withdrawal of Designation as Independent Contractor form (DWC-11-ICR) for each would rescind your independent contractor status.
11. Is all the information on this form available to the public?
No, personal identifying information such as, Social Security Numbers, Federal Employer Identification Numbers, Dates of Birth and Business License Numbers will not be made public.
12. Is there a fee required for filing either the DWC-11-IC or the DWC-11-ICR?
No, there is no fee for filing a form.
13. When do these forms become effective?
Forms, which are filled out completely, become effective when received and date-stamped by the Department of Labor & Training. Incomplete forms will be returned for corrections.
14. What if the employer misrepresents an employee as an independent contractor to avoid obtaining workers' compensation insurance or to decrease their premium?
If an employer misrepresents the employee as an independent contractor, the employer may be subject to criminal prosecution.
15. What if my employer or the person hiring me to work requires that I sign a DWC-11-IC?
You may be asked to sign a form, but an employer that forces or coerces an employee to sign the Notice may be subject to criminal prosecution. If you feel that you have been forced or coerced, report this to the Workers' Compensation Fraud Prevention Unit at (401)462-8100 option 8.
16. I am still unclear as to whether I am an independent contractor or not, how do I find out?
You can call the RI Division of Taxation at (401) 574-8941 or the US Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040. If calling the IRS, ask for form #SS-8, which is the Determination of Employee Work Status Form. Should you be determined to be an employee, the hiring entity may be required to obtain workers' compensation coverage.

RI Department of Labor and Training
Workers' Compensation
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8100
Fax (401) 462-8105
TTY via RI Relay: 711
12/3/18 MDF
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