Engaging with Independent Contractors

What is an independent contractor?

An independent contractor is an individual who provides services to Princeton University and is not an employee. More specifically, it is a worker who:

Why is it important to differentiate between an employee and an independent contractor?

Independent contractors and employees are treated differently with respect to tax withholding, and employee benefits and are paid using different payment methods. Misclassification of individual service providers can result in fines and penalties levied by government agencies. Please note, Agency temps are not considered independent contractors. For questions about whether an individual service provider should be an employee or independent contractor, please contact Procurement Services.

When engaging independent contractors, use one of the University’s model agreements which can simplify the contracting process and ensure risks are minimized.

How to Engage Independent Contractors

Limited Engagement

Examples of limited engagements:


Examples of honoraria:

Agreements for the Purchase of Services

A best practice is to complete the agreement (contract) with the supplier before the work begins. To simplify this process, a number of model agreements are available on the University Contracting Website. While these agreements provide a framework, it is important in any contract to clearly identify the specific work the service provider is expected to accomplish.

If you have any questions about how to use any of these agreements, please contact Procurement Services.

Services Agreement (formerly the Independent Contractor Agreement or ICA)

Used for the purchase of most services provided by an individual or business and should be used if:

Examples of Services Agreements:

Performer/Speaker Agreement

Entertainment Agreement

License Agreement

Works Made for Hire Agreement

Related Resources

To learn more about policies and procedures surrounding Independent Contractors, please visit the Independent Contractors website.

To learn more about temporary staffing, including the preferred agencies, please visit the Hire and Pay Temporary Staff page. This provides a link to the HR website which lists the University’s preferred agencies with contracts that protect the University, provide competitive rates, and ensure compliance with regulations including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).