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Employment Law/medical leave for independant contracter

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Question
A couple of months back the company I work for put me on medical leave for a mental health issue.  Because I am an independent contractor I can't apply for unemployment benefits and they are my only source of income.  Can they legally do this?

Answer
Tracy - Only employees can get unemployment benefits.  They are not paid out to independent contractors.  Additionally, one must be available for work to be eligible for unemployment benefits, and someone on medical leave, presumably, is not able to work.  I have to point out that independent contractors cannot be put on medical leave - only employees are subject to that type of control.  Perhaps you need to question that classification. A call to the U.S. Department of Labor asking their opinion of your status might be in order.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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