Most new graduate and seasoned physical
therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and therapist assistants do
not know the difference between working as an employee vs. an independent contractor.
Nothing drives me crazier than when I hear
of a rehab staffing agency or any rehab or home health facility hiring a PT, PTA,
OT, COTA, SLP or SLPA as a 1099 independent contractor. It bothers me because most
physical, occupation or speech therapist and therapist assistants I speak to do
not even know what it really means to be an independent physical, occupational,
speech therapist or therapist assistant independent contractor in the rehab
world. Many times, one accepts a 1099 position because the agency or facility
does not give them a choice. One may just show up to the office sign and agree
to a bunch of documents they do not even read.
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax rate, which is the
combined Social Security tax rate of 6.2% and the Medicare tax rate of 1.45%,
will be 7.65% for 2020 up to the Social Security wage base. The maximum Social
Security tax employees and employers will each pay in 2020 is $8,537.40. If a rehab
staffing agency, home health company or facility hires you as an independent
contractor they do not have to match the FICA tax rate because you are not an employee.
Most responsible companies legitimately hire independent contracting physical,
occupational, speech therapist and therapy assistants to supplement their
staffing needs while others hire because just to save on employee tax expenses
and add to their bottom line. That is okay if everyone is on the same page,
preferably via a contractual agreement. But it is not okay if a 1099 worker unexpectedly
receives a tax bill or unexpectedly gets audited by local or federal agencies. You
work as a rehab independent contractor because you know what you are getting
yourself in to and understand you are offering your services with no guaranty
of getting paid.
Educate yourself and
know the difference between an employee vs. physical therapist, occupational
therapist, speech therapist or therapist assistant independent contractor
before you agree to work as one.
Common Law Rules utilize three categories to determine the status of a worker:
Does the company control or have the right to control how the worker does his
or her job?
Does the company provide regular scheduled direct deposits or are they provided
on invoice for services rendered. Does the company reimburse for supplies or
provide all tools needed to perform a job or does the worker utilize their own?
Relationship: Are there written contracts in place? Does the worker have access
to benefits like direct deposit, retirement plans, medical or other insurances
or vacation and sick pay?
A rehab employee is one who:
1.Desires and chooses to
work as an employee and expects to be paid on time and provided benefits that can
be compared to other employers in an area.
2.Is provided liability
insurance and/or offered other insurances or paid time off benefits.
3.Works within hours of
4.Must comply with company
employee policies and procedures
A rehab independent contractor is one who:
1.Desires and chooses to
work as an independent contracting PT, PTA, OT, COTA, SLP, or SLPA and understands
there is no guarantee of being paid on time and the only benefits provided are
those by you.
2.Provides own liability
insurance and/or other insurances and realizes that paid time off is time you are
not getting compensated for.