1099 Independent Contractor Benefit FAQs

This article provides an overview of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to benefits such as vacation days, sick leave, paid time off, and health insurance when working as a 1099 contractor. 

What is a 1099 independent contractor?

A 1099 contractor, also known as an independent contractor, is someone who provides services to a company or individual but is not considered an employee. 

Specifically, a mental health therapist working as a 1099 contractor is a licensed professional who provides therapy services to clients but is not considered an employee of a mental health facility or organization, such as Rula. They operate as their own business, offering therapy sessions on a contract basis.

Working as an independent contractor offers many advantages, including:

  • The freedom and flexibility to set your work schedule and style, including vacations of your choosing
  • No minimum caseloads
  • The ability to deduct relevant business expenses (please consult a tax professional)

However, you don't receive employer-provided benefits such as paid vacation days, sick leave, and health insurance.

What do I do if I am planning to take a vacation?

A mental health therapist working as a 1099 contractor needs attentive planning for vacations to minimize disruption for clients and their income, as independent contractors are not provided paid time off (PTO) for vacation or sick days. Here's what you can do:

  • Give clients ample notice. Inform clients about your vacation well in advance, ideally a month or two before your departure.
  • Provide options for care. Such as offering existing clients the opportunity to reschedule their sessions for dates before or after your vacation. If rescheduling isn't possible, consider offering referrals to other therapists who can provide continuity of care during your absence.
  • Cancellation policy review. Remind clients of your cancellation policy to avoid any misunderstandings regarding missed appointments due to your vacation.
  • Maintain communication. While on vacation, consider offering limited email communication for urgent client needs. You can set autoresponders informing clients of your absence and directing them to alternative resources if needed.
Note: While offering limited communication options, ensure it doesn't blur professional boundaries by turning your vacation into a constant work-related activity.
  • Prepare for your return. Schedule some catch-up time upon your return to address any missed administrative tasks or messages from clients.
  • Have fun! Enjoy your well-deserved rest and relaxation. 

What do I do if I need to call in sick?

A mental health therapist working as a 1099 contractor faces unique challenges when needing to call out sick. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Notify clients as soon as possible. Inform clients you won't be able to hold their scheduled appointments due to illness.
Note: Avoid canceling an initial session, as this can be disruptive and distressing for clients who may need immediate care. We suggest finding a new time that works rather than canceling altogether. Rescheduling instead of canceling reduces disruption for the client and allows you to maintain an ongoing relationship. For more information, check out this article providing guidance on cancellation and booking
  • Offer rescheduling options. If possible, offer clients the option to reschedule their appointments for a later date.
Note: We've found that client satisfaction is highest if you contact clients directly about the need to reschedule. However, if you are too sick to do so, you can contact the Rula Support team to notify your clients.
  • Provide resources. If appropriate, consider offering clients resources for self-care or crisis support during your absence.
  • Prioritize getting better. Rest and focus on your recovery to ensure you can return to providing optimal care for your clients.

What do I do if I need health insurance?

Check out this article on your health benefit partnership with Stride which helps independent contractors find the best rates for benefits.

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