It would make sense for these various organizations to have the same test, with the same factors. However, while ideal, the reality is each of these organizations have a different method of testing the classification of a worker as an employee or independent contractor. This makes it confusing and difficult to correctly classify a worker.
There is a commonality through the various factors. Specifically, there is a question of the amount of control the employer has over the employee.
Keep in mind the measure of control is based on the factors in the governing bodies test. The IRS has something like 20 factors. Some of these factors are the same as the Department of Labor test, though other demands exist there as well. Different sources will indicate different factors are weighted more or less heavily depending on the circumstances.
Still, the key is control. If an employer has the ability to control how a job is completed, this may suggest the worker is more of an employee. If the employer just is asking for results and does not deal with the “how” of completing the job, the worker may be more of an independent contractor.
This may seem like a lot of avoidance of identifying an employee versus an independent contractor. There is a reason for this. There are some situations where the difference between the two is clear. A person in uniform, at the counter, running the cash register for a business is most likely an employee. A lot of control over their actions and method of work is exerted by the employer. On the other hand, a service provider, such as a photographer is more likely to be an independent contractor. They arrive on a location requested by the client and then act to take the pictures wanted with the photographer’s equipment using the photographer’s decision making ability.
There is no industry based standard. Consider even just these two industries. What happens when a photographer is hired by a photography studio? Are they an employee of the studio or are they still an independent contractor? How about a temporary employee working at the counter, are they an employee of the retail store or are they an independent contractor?
The facts matter and the determination of if a person is an employee or an independent contractor is a difficult question. This classification is one with significant consequences to an employer. Caution is definitely advised on identifying if a person is an employee or an independent contractor.