If you get the opportunity of a freelance job or two while not employed elsewhere, you should obviously be happy about it and not turn it down. Unemployment benefits will only go so far (a few months after terminating your last employment), and, also, the larger the gap in your employment history, the harder it will be to explain it at your next interview. Even if a freelance contract job isn’t actually a job (as in traditional employment) per se, it’s still an honourable way to list your previous work experience in front of a recruiter. Not to mention the more than welcome cash flow.
Why then, do some people wonder whether getting a freelance job is a good idea or not, you may ask. Well, the answer is a double one, in fact: on one hand, handling the paperwork of a contract job is a bit more difficult than just being employed, and on the other hand, if you’re not used to this kind of arrangement, then you might be suspicious of the employers’ reasons for it. Why would a company only hire you as a freelancer instead of hiring you for real, if they mean well, you may ask yourself. Obviously, things aren’t that simple: there are plenty of honest reasons for which employers may prefer to offer you only a contract job for now, and furthermore, this shouldn’t actually bother you, since it can work to your advantage as well. Here’s how.
The Main Reasons Employers Hire Contract Workers
Not every company looking to hire freelance workers is trying to cheat you out of more money, or to make their own managers’ life easier by dropping a load of extra paperwork on you. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons employers hire contract workers from time to time. Here are just a few of the possibilities:
- They only need temporary work to replace a missing employee who will return (either gone for parental leave or any other temporary personal issue, or gone for extended training out of town etc.);
- They offer you a contract job only as a way of testing out your job skills, considering you for a full employment in the future, after they get to know your abilities;
- They only need specific tasks completed and this is the only cost-effective solution for the company, enabling you as well to tackle more than one such contract;
- They just need someone to take over a higher work flow in exceptional cases, when the demand is very likely to come back to normal in a while (seasonal sales, for example);
Just because someone offering you work isn’t offering it precisely in the form you would want it (out of sheer inertia), it doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity. Freelance work is more than adequate in bring in extra cash and to change your unemployment status as well (it will be harder to explain the gap if you don’t work at all).
Things to Consider When You Get a Freelance Job
So don’t hesitate and go for it if the opportunity comes up, with only a few precautions. This is what all contract workers should keep in mind whenever they sign on freelance work.
If you’re still collecting unemployment benefits when you start your contract job, you have to report all and any income gained from it. No matter if the work is full time or part time or even project-based, the money you have earned still has to be properly reported, of course. To do this, simply fill in the 1099 form your new employer will send to you at the end of the year (instead of the W-2 form you were probably familiar with in the days of traditional employment). In most cases, this will not make you ineligible to receive your unemployment compensations further, but the exact way in which they will be recalculated varies from state to state. Each state has its own regulations on how a freelance job affects your unemployment status, but don’t worry: you will not end up with less money than you had before taking the contract job.
Also, bear in mind that the timing of the payments you receive can make a difference in your earnings, if you still receive unemployment benefits. Most contract workers get paid for the work at the end of the contract (although there are risks to it and you should take some precautions with this). Since you only need to report the earnings at the time when you actually receive the money, it’s very likely that the payment will only affect your unemployment benefits for the week when you get paid, even if your job took several weeks before that.
Get Your Degree!
Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.
Powered by Campus Explorer