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FreelanceTV
12-26-2006, 09:48 AM
Here's my situation:

I'm a freelance TV producer who is about to complete a project the first week of January. I was just speaking with one of my coworkers who said he didn't think we could collect unemployment since we are 1099 workers. I have yet to find anything on the CT DOL website that proves otherwise...

One of my other coworkers also mentioned that the unemployment insurance would come from my previous employer, as in the company I was working for before my current (although soon-to-be former) employer. Here is my rundown because I am not sure how my unemployment will be calculated or which state I should collect from:

From June 2005-April 2006 I was employed as a W-2 worker for a company in NY. The show I was working for was cancelled at the end of March, and I was lucky enough to find a new job within a week.

From April 2006-current (but ending Jan. 6, 2007). I have been employed in CT as a 1099 worker.

Here are my questions...can I collect since I'm 1099? what state do I collect from and how will my weekly unemployment wage total be calculated? I should also add that I am a CT resident.

According to what I've read, I was under the impression that my unemployment rate would be based on the rate from the last two quarters I worked (July '06-September '06 and October '06-December '06) and I would collect in CT. Am I right or would this all go back to my last job where I was W-2?!

I'm very confused! Any and all help is appreciated! Thank you!

Pattymd
12-26-2006, 10:14 AM
Whether or not you can collect UI benefits is not necessarily dependent on your last period of work ONLY, but whether the total wages you have earned as an employee in the base period are sufficient to establish eligibility.
http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/progsupt/unemplt/uceligb.htm#Basic%20Eligibility%20Requirements

Having said that, though, the reason for your separation from work with this last company must have been for a reason that does not disqualify you from benefits. Generally speaking, if you are a free-lance independent consultant doing the type of work you do, you're working for a specified period of time, knowing that the job is "temporary" to start with.

You can file; you have nothing to lose. The worst that can happen is you are denied benefits and the state will tell you why. I would not be at all optimistic, however. It's one of the drawbacks in being in business for yourself which, basically, is what you are.

FreelanceTV
12-26-2006, 11:00 AM
Thank you for your response, Patty. I am hoping that since I was laid off my previous job in April and took the temporary job as means to get by, then maybe I will be able to collect without a problem.

BSPCPA
12-26-2006, 03:06 PM
When applying for unemployment benefits do not overlook the fact that you may be a misclassified 1099 worker. I noticed that at your previous job (presumably doing the same type of work as you are currently), you were treated as a W-2 employee.

My Point: Just because your current employer treated you as 1099 worker doesn't mean you are. If you are paid by the hour (not the project), report to a company office (not your own office), must perform the work personally (can not send someone else to do it for you), use your employer's equipment (not your own), do not hold yourself out as being in business for yourself (do not advertise in the yellow pages, have employees of your own, etc), the CT DOL may very well find that you are an employee and not an independent contractor. If this is the case, the earnings from your current employer can factor into the computation of your unemployment benefit award.

FreelanceTV
12-26-2006, 10:02 PM
Thanks! Actually, I do fit all those requirements: I work at the production company's office, use their equipment, must perform the work personally, etc...I am paid a daily rate as opposed to an hourly rate, but there is not a set amount of money that I am making for the project itself. This is great info to have...I would much rather be collecting from the current company because my salary went up considerably when I began working on this project.

Pattymd
12-27-2006, 04:41 AM
My understanding it is common to use free-lance producers in the TV/movie industry and, I would opine that the DOL/IRS has probably targeted this industry sometime in the past. The fact that the individual must perform the services personally would, I do believe, not be a critical factor in determining whether the worker is an IC or an employee; such "creative" types of jobs can't be just "hired out". If my guess is right, treating these workers as ICs probably falls under the "Reasonable Basis" test, at least for IRS purposes.

Of course, my opinion an $2 can barely get you a cup of coffee these days. I'm just not convinced that this worker has been misclassified.

BSPCPA
12-27-2006, 05:58 AM
Pattymd: Of course, my opinion an $2 can barely get you a cup of coffee these days

I agree. :)

gigant
01-16-2007, 09:16 AM
Thanks! Actually, I do fit all those requirements: I work at the production company's office, use their equipment, must perform the work personally, etc...I am paid a daily rate as opposed to an hourly rate, but there is not a set amount of money that I am making for the project itself. This is great info to have...I would much rather be collecting from the current company because my salary went up considerably when I began working on this project.


Hello Freelance,

Can I ask you if your claim went through?

I am in the same situation but different industry (service), I wonder

if I should file as self employee or employee on the UI web site.

Thank you

rjc
01-16-2007, 11:59 AM
Hello Freelance,

Can I ask you if your claim went through?

I am in the same situation but different industry (service), I wonder

if I should file as self employee or employee on the UI web site.

Thank you

I shall assume that you are also in CT. If so, care to provide some more details about your position.

CT is a very employee-friendly state relative to unemployment benefits and has been known to interpret its statutes very, very liberally in favor of the claimant. I would be surprised if FreeLance did not prevail.

gigant
01-16-2007, 09:45 PM
Thank you for your reply rjc,

I am actually in NY, so I guess the rules are different but

the basic principles remain the same (the last employer
does not determine if you are eligible or not, )

I hope to think he received benefits

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