How do I know if I am an independent contractor? | Independent contractors 

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You'll need to determine whether you are classified as an independent contractor before entering a contract. Your status will affect your rights and obligations with your employer or the business you contract with. You can be an employee for some work and an independent contractor for other work.

The individual circumstances of a working relationship are important in determining whether you are an independent contractor or employee. Use the Contractor decision tool to see whether the courts are likely to consider you an independent contractor under common law.

Generally, you are an independent contractor if you:

  • are paid for results achieved
  • provide all or most of the necessary materials and equipment to complete the work
  • are free to delegate work to others
  • have freedom in the way you work
  • provide services to other businesses
  • are free to accept or refuse work
  • are in a position to make a profit or loss.

Having an Australian Business Number (ABN) doesn’t automatically make you an independent contractor.


Employees are entitled to a minimum set of conditions under workplace relations law that independent contractors aren’t entitled to. These include:

  • payment of wages
  • set hours of work
  • leave entitlements.

Usually, an employer can direct the way employees work. Independent contractors have more control over how they work.

Other state and federal laws that define a worker

Independent contractors are classified differently under different state, territory and federal laws. Your classification may be determined by the state you undertake the work in and whether the service is provided to more than one employer. Make sure you take your state/territory laws into consideration.

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