Pay Independent Contractors and Guests

Departments often engage the services of individuals who are not employees of the University, including independent contractors, guest lecturers, entertainers, and others. When engaging independent contractors, various insurance requirements, government regulations, and University policy must be followed.

Please see the Independent Contractor Policy and review the requirements for low-risk categories of independent contractors below.

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

To remain compliant with state and federal requirements from the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you must correctly classify a worker as an independent contractor or employee.

  • Employees are not considered independent contractors. 

  • Employees are hired through Human Resources or the Office of the Dean of Faculty and paid through the Payroll function.

Types of Independent Contractors

Limited-Engagement Criteria

  • Payment of $5,000 or less

  • Service is provided only once (or one time per year)

Examples of limited engagements:

  • Academic guest speakers, guest artists, or special lecturers 

  • Distinguished guest speakers at University functions 

  • Short-term, professional manuscript reviewers, or editors 

  • Non-recurring seminar or workshop leaders

One of these forms must be completed: Limited Engagement Agreement (for U.S. citizens)Limited Engagement Agreement (for Foreign Nationals), or Honorarium Acceptance Form.

Entertainment Criteria

The Entertainment Agreement is used in lieu of a limited engagement agreement when the University engages an individual or a business on a limited basis to provide entertainment services, including musicians, bands, DJs, and other performers. 

Honorarium Criteria

  • Payment of $2,500 or less

  • Service must be related to usual academic activity

Payments to Foreign Nationals

When paying a foreign national independent contractor for any service, limited engagement, or honorarium, please keep in mind that international payments are complex in nature. Additional documentation may be required. Please refer to these instructions for Payments to Foreign National Guests, Speakers, and Entities for more information.