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Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
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Project-Based or Freelance Workers and the Affirmative Action Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

OFCCP receives frequent requests to clarify which individuals working at an establishment qualify as employees and therefore must be included in an affirmative action program (AAP). In particular, contractors seek to determine to what extent the requirement applies to project-based or freelance workers. The following questions and answers provide specific information regarding individuals who perform task work for wages.

  1. Are workers doing business on a project or freelance basis considered employees?
  2. If a contractor’s workforce includes workers doing business on a project or freelance basis, should these workers be included in the contractor’s AAP?

 


 

1. Are workers doing business on a project or freelance basis considered employees?

Generally, workers doing business on a project or freelance basis are outside the traditional employee‐employer relationship. These workers perform temporary, flexible jobs and are paid per service provided or task completed. They are not hourly or salaried employees. For example, a freelance writer who is paid for writing an article on a particular subject for a magazine will often be properly categorized as an independent contractor, depending on the specific facts. Workers doing business on a project or freelance basis will typically be classified as independent contractors rather than employees. To learn more about what constitutes an employee versus an independent contractor, please see our FAQs here.

 


 

2. If a contractor’s workforce includes workers doing business on a project or freelance basis, should these workers be included in the contractor’s AAP?

Whether these workers should be included in the contractor’s AAP depends on whether they are employees or independent contractors. Workers who are properly classified as independent contractors should not be included in the contractor’s AAP. To learn more about what constitutes an employee versus an independent contractor, please see our FAQs here.