Work For Hire

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What is

Work For Hire

At times businesses may require people with a specialized skill set on a project-to-project basis but not as a salaried employee owing to the seasonality of the work. Hence such persons may be engaged by another as an independent contractor through a work for hire agreement. 

Under a work for hire agreement the person performing the work is not a salaried employee but a contractor and hence has the independence to choose to do the work according to his or her methods if the work is completed in conformity to the specifications provided by the person hiring him. 

 Usually work for hire agreements are entered into for the development of intellectual property such as designing of a website or designing of a trademark etc. The agreement ensures that any information shared between the parties remains confidential and sets out the ownership status of the work performed produced. 


1. What’s the difference between a fixed term employment agreement and a work for hire agreement?

Fixed term employment agreement establishes an employee-employer relationship between the parties, whereas in a work for hire agreement an independent contractor relationship is established between the parties. 

2. What is the difference between a work for hire agreement and a consultancy agreement?

Under a consultancy agreement, the person hired as a consultant only provides the relevant information and assists in the completion of the work. Whereas under a work for hire agreement the person hired performs the task at hand.   

3.Are there any legislations in India governing work for hire agreements?

Generally, a work for hire agreement is governed by the Indian Contract Act of 1872, however under certain circumstances should the work-for-hire be covered under the meaning the contract labour as under the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act1 970, the person hiring may have to fulfill the obligations of the principal employer under the same. 

4. What all should a work for hire agreement incorporate?

A work for hire agreement should incorporate the following:

  • Scope of work
  • Fee structure
  • Confidentiality of information
  • Non-solicitation
  • Non-compete
  • Relation between the parties