Comparison of workplace legal protections for employees and for independent contractors in the United States

Labor standard Employee Independent contractor
Minimum wage X
Overtime pay X
Unemployment insurance √  X
Workers’ compensation √  X
Paid sick days √  X
Paid family leave √  X
Health and safety protections √  X
Right to a union √  X
Discrimination and sexual harassment protections √  X

Source: Authors’ analysis of current (as of May 2022) federal and state laws. Employees have these protections in places where they are statutorily prescribed. Independent contractors do not have these protections in any jurisdiction.

View the underlying data on