The Blurring Line Between Freelancer and Employee

By: Kaydee Ambas · May 22, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Blurred Lines

2023 has seen an impressive 78% of companies opting for a newer staffing approach: freelance hiring.

But as businesses increasingly rely on freelancers, the division between freelancer and employee begins to blur, creating potential setbacks for those in the freelance community.

With so many companies adopting this flexible option to bridge employment gaps, it’s becoming clear that it’s not all sunshine and roses for freelancers. The trend is beginning to underscore the key differences between independent contracting and full-time employment.

No Strings Attached

Job roles extended to freelancers are beginning to veer into employee territory. In other words, businesses are asking freelancers to perform the duties and responsibilities of regular employees, while maintaining the freelancer’s risk profile and lack of job security.

In many cases, workers are also seeing work beyond the original scope of their contracts added after the fact. This practice is known as “scope creep”. Whether by design or not, it appears companies are increasingly conflating freelancers with work-from-home employees, despite not offering them the same salaries or benefits.

Knowledge Is Power

Unlike full-time employees, contractors aren’t entitled to receive benefits like healthcare, dental, or life insurance. They are also responsible for handling their own taxes, saving for their own retirement, and often lack a predictable income.

Luckily, some key protections exist such as California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) law and the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act that are specifically aimed at safeguarding freelancers and gig workers by defining the difference between full-time employees and contractors. Worker rights advocates are urging freelancers to familiarize themselves with their rights, network with fellow freelancers, and stand their ground against unethical business practices by presenting prospective employers with well-defined boundaries.

If you feel like you’ve entered the twilight zone between freelancing and full-time work, don’t be afraid to voice out against unfair or unethical practices. Just remember, freelance doesn’t mean free work.

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