Independent Contractors

Independent Contractor Defined An independent contractor is a self-employed individual or business that provides goods or services to the University under a contract and/or official UC Berkeley Purchase Order. Independent contractors are responsible for their own taxes and benefits. The University provides the independent contractor with a contract that outlines the terms of the work to be performed, including the scope, milestones, deliverables, deadlines, payment terms, and other relevant details.

Important: Starting January 1, 2020, workers will be considered UC employees unless proven otherwise. Please read this UC Legal Advisory to learn how it impacts you. Partner with Human Resources, Academic Personnel and Programs, Procurement, and/or UC Legal to review independent contractor relationships. For short-term employment relationships, consider utilizing University options such as contract appointments or limited appointments for policy-covered staff positions.

Independent Contractors typically have the following characteristics as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), California laws, and/or UC policy:

  • Have no affiliation with the University; 
  • Have multiple concurrent clients,
  • Advertise their services online or in publications; work on separate/distinct projects
  • Have invested in various business-related expenses;
  • Are engaged by the University to perform specific functions or tasks (deliverables);
  • Perform work outlined in a written contract;
  • Are not given instruction on when, where, or how to perform the work in order to produce a deliverable; 
  • Do NOT receive training, orientation, or supervision from the University;
  • Use their own equipment and supplies to perform contracted work;
  • Are “paid per job”;
  • Will not receive employee benefits or supervise University employees;
  • Do not follow the University's scheduled hours of work.

Consult with your Buyer for any services over $99,999.99 as they may require competition by law.

Examples of Independent Contractor services:

  • Business coaches and consultants
  • Data analysts and statisticians 
  • Event planners and coordinators
  • Freelance writers, editors, and content creators 
  • Graphic designers and illustrators
  • Interpreters and translators
  • Legal professionals such as lawyers and paralegals who work on a contract basis
  • Marketing consultants and social media managers
  • Medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and therapists who work on a contract basis
  • Musicians and performers
  • Technical editors and preparing technical appraisals
  • Photographers and videographers
  • Trainers and fitness instructors
  • Web developers and programmers

How to hire an Independent Contractor:

  1. Use the following form in BearBUY: Services and Non-Tangible Items
  2. The department should attach the following required PO documents to the form as directed in BearBUY:
    1. Required documents from the DEPARTMENT:
      1. Proof of Price Reasonableness & Source Justification
      2. Classification Worksheet for Federal Tax Purposes Policy & Form(The form, "Exhibit C," can be found on pages 21-23 of the PDF)
      3. Statement of Work
    2. Required documents from the SUPPLIER:
      1. Insurance
      2. Conflict of Interest (if applicable) 
      3. Supplier's Rates/Quote Sheet
    3. Other Considerations:
      1. Services performed on UC Property: Determine the number of services that will be performed by the Supplier on campus.
      2. See Special Considerations for additional potental issues.
      3. The Buyer will use the above documentation to create a Services Agreement, which will be signed by the Buyer and the Independent Contractor.

For more information, see Finance Bulletin: BFB-BUS-43 Purchases of Goods and Services; Supply Chain Management

Return to the Methods for Purchasing Goods and Services page