Contractor Bill of Rights
Contractors and the need for rights
As the knowledge economy continues to expand, many workers are turning towards contracted rather than traditional employment. This transition marks a stepping stone towards personal empowerment and global economic opportunity. Online marketplaces (like Ultius) for various services help foster such economic opportunities by matching customers with contractors while removing the cost and friction associated with payments, messaging, and customer acquisition.
However, it has come to pass that many marketplace businesses often times neglect their independent contractors and deprive them of important rights that they deserve. While the United States Department of Labor is constantly fighting certain types of contractor abuse, Ultius, Inc. firmly believes that it is the obligation of businesses to protect contractors by affording rights and best practices.
For that reason, Ultius utilizes a contractor bill of rights, or a set of universal protections that we afford all of our contracted writers.
Independent contractors have the right to self-determination. The company will not restrict, impede or otherwise interfere with a contractor’s right to pursue employment with other contracting opportunities. The means by which contractors select projects to work on must also be on the basis of free-will, without undue pressure or coercion from the company.
The company must be proactive in reasonably affording, enforcing, and upholding general protections for all contractors. Protections include, but are not limited to:
(i) Privacy. Security measures must be afforded to protect contractor data, confidential information, and identity;
(ii) IRS reporting of earnings. Accurate, truthful, and timely reports of earnings to both federal tax authorities and the contractor must be made.
(iii) Customer abuse. Customer abuse grievances must be taken seriously, addressed based on merits, and resolved in a timely manner.
The company must foster an environment that is free from general verbal abuse such as harassment, degrading language or otherwise disrespectful treatment during the course of communication. Respectful engagement applies to both staff and customer interactions. The company must also engage in a good-faith effort to govern client interactions and protect writers from the aforementioned abuses.
Fair pay for fair work
The company must offer reasonable compensation for work performed by contractors. Contractors cannot to be penalized with excessive or unreasonable deductions. Moreover, extraneous project requirements and other unusual factors that result in excessive work requirements for a given order must be taken into account when calculating payouts. The company must address payment amount grievances accordingly on a case by case basis.
Timely payment schedule
The company must abide by a steady payment schedule in terms of frequency and amount accuracy. If payment grievances or disputes arise, contractors have the right to (i) express concerns through the appropriate channel and; (ii) a speedy resolution on the matter.
Fair hearing and objective assessment
On the matter of general problems, customer feedback, and the like, the company must provide contractors with an objective assessment of the facts at hand. Contractor grievances and accusations must be supported by reasonable merits. Resolutions must follow a due process determination where the contractor has a voice in the matter.