Freelancer agreements should include several different components.
1. Scope of Work and Level of Compensation: The scope of the freelancer’s work and their level of compensation should be detailed early on in the agreement.
2. Copyright: The agreement should include who owns the copyright in the freelancer’s work product. The employer can choose to retain the copyright to the freelancer’s work through a work-for-hire clause, or choose to allow the freelancer to retain copyright in the work.
3. Clear Indication of Independent Contractor Status: Employees are covered by certain laws and benefits independent contractors are generally not. These include, but are not limited to: unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation, and wage and hour laws (which include overtime and minimum wage). To ensure you do not run afoul of these laws, freelancer contracts should include language that specifies that the freelancer is an independent contractor, not an employee. Please note that while it is important that a freelancer agreement is clear on this point, the terms of the contract will not prevent a court from finding that a freelancer is an employee if he or she is otherwise treated as such. You should definitely consult an attorney if your interaction with a freelancer becomes an ongoing relationship.