a. How to Properly Document the Relationship
Practically all self-employed contracts require a written form for two reasons: ad substantiam – that is, in order to have a valid contract – rather than ad probationem – that is, in order to allow the principal to demonstrate its existence.
Therefore, it is important to draft a contract in which the autonomous nature of the relationship is clearly expressed.
b. Day-to-Day Management of the Relationship
As we have seen, the distinguishing feature of self-employment relationship is the way of implementing the performance that must be rendered independently by the worker, without any relationship of subordination with regard to the enterprise (no subjection of the independent contractor to the executive, organizational and disciplinary power of the employer).
It follows from this that the independent contractor is, in general, entirely free to decide whether and when to work or not; this means that he/she does not have to ask for leave or holidays, nor does the principal have the power to grant them.
So, with regard to managing the relationship, the self-employed person must be permitted to fulfil his/her services without any strict controls or interference by the principal. The latter must limit its intervention to a general coordination (e.g. a few meetings per year, just to be kept informed of the performance of the services or the evaluation of the results achieved by the worker). No precise and detailed directives must be given to him/ her.
In this respect, it is advisable to be very careful with written communications (above all, emails), since their meaning can be misunderstood, and later on used against the principal (as proof of the subordinate nature of the relationship).
Finally, the termination of an open-ended relationship has to be communicated in writing, avoiding comments on the performance of the worker and using a very neutral tone (so that such communication cannot be interpreted as part of a disciplinary process).