What Is an Autonomous Worker?

An autonomous worker is someone who works independently for himself.

What’s the Difference Between an Autonomous Worker and an Employee?

An autonomous worker chooses the mandates they wish to carry out and the clients with whom they wish to work. They set their own rates and take care of billing and other administrative details linked to their professional activities. They have no access to fringe benefits, and must pay their own statutory contributions.

An employee, on the other hand, works for a company with which they have an employment contract that sets out the terms of their working relationship. An employee receives pre-defined remuneration and benefits in return for the work performed. They generally report to a direct supervisor.

What Are the Legal Requirements for Autonomous Workers?

The legal requirements for autonomous workers depend on the legislation in place.

For example, autonomous workers are generally required to:

  • Declare their income
  • Pay taxes
  • Collect sales taxes in force in the country

How Is Autonomous Working Status Determined?

There are 6 criteria for determining autonomous working status:

  • Actual subordination of work
  • Economic or financial criteria
  • Ownership of tools
  • Integration of work performed
  • The specific result of the work
  • The attitude of the parties to the business relationship

An individual is considered to be an autonomous worker if he or she is free to choose how the contract is to be performed, and there is no relationship of subordination between them and the customer.

What Are the Advantages of Being an Autonomous Worker?

Some of the advantages of being an autonomous worker include:

  • Greater autonomy and independence
  • Access to certain tax and social benefits
  • Being their own boss
  • Simple financial management
  • Setting their own rate
  • More flexibility in their work
  • The possibility of making more money

What Are the Disadvantages of Being an Autonomous Worker?

Some of the disadvantages of being an autonomous worker include:

  • Not having the social benefits typically offered to employees of a company
  • Having to put money aside for retirement
  • Having to manage the administrative side of the business
  • Having more difficulty accessing loans from banks
  • A greater risk of bankruptcy
  • Having to acquire their own work tools

Is an Autonomous Worker Entitled to Unemployment Benefits?

In Canada, an autonomous worker may be entitled to unemployment benefits if they meet the following conditions:

  • Are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Have been enrolled in the self-employment program for at least 12 months
  • Have cut the time devoted to their business by more than 40% for at least one week
  • Earned a minimum amount of net income as an autonomous worker between January 1 and December 31 of the year preceding the application for benefits.

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