Q: A newly-hired employee quit after their first day. To keep things simple, can we just pay them as an independent contractor?
A: No, that approach is not compliant with regulations. The IRS, the U.S. Department of Labor, and state agencies have specific criteria for determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. These criteria focus on the overall relationship workers have with their employer, with attention to who controls when, where, and how the job gets done, along with who has the opportunity for financial profit or loss. The timespan of employment is not one of those criteria. We therefore recommend that you pay the employee the day’s wages through your payroll system, taking out payroll taxes and other withholdings as required.
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