Individual Service Provider Classification

Classifying Individual Service Providers

These documents are now available as fillable PDF forms.
    Service Provider Questionnaire (updated 3/30/2017)
    Service Provider Evaluation (updated 4/18/2017)
    Limited Engagement Agreement - U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens
    Limited Engagement Agreement - Nonresident Aliens


During fiscal year 2017, the University is implementing policy changes and a new process to properly classify and pay individual service providers. These changes were necessary to ensure the University’s compliance with U.S. Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, and other regulatory requirements related to the treatment of workers. The changes affect:

  • Employment Classification Process
  • Payment to Individuals for Human Subject Fees
  • Payment for Honoraria
  • Limited Engagement
  • Procurement, Payment and Reporting of Independent Contractors

The Worker Classification Committee, convened by the Office of the Executive Vice President, recommended these changes based on compliance requirements and after thorough discussions with stakeholders across campus, including several schools and centers that piloted the new process and forms last year. For more information about the Worker Classification Committee and their work, visit the Background page.

Ongoing Rollout

Implementation of the revised policies is ongoing. University-wide implementation began January 1, 2017. All new potential independent contractors must go through the review process (provider completes Service Provider Questionnaire and School/Center completes the Service Provider Evaluation). Contracts up for renewal will also need to go through the review process. See the timeline below for further details.

Individual Service Providers

The new classification process may differ from how some schools, centers, and departments are used to working with independent service providers. For this reason, implementation of the process for classifying independent service providers will occur in a staged manner to give them time to resolve any issues and avoid disruptions in their work.

For individual service providers who are currently considered by schools/centers to be independent contractors, the following timeline will apply:

  • Independent Contractors New to Penn – A school/center/department that wants to hire a new independent contractor on after January 1, 2017 must complete the new service provider classification process.
  • Existing Independent Contractors with Contracts – A school/center/department that has an independent contractor under a current contract and wants to renew that contract upon its expiration must complete the service provider classification process when the current contract expires.
  • Existing Independent Contractors Without Contracts – The service provider classification process must be completed by July 1, 2017 for any independent contractor currently working at Penn but who does not have a contract. We will provide formal notice of this requirement by January 31, 2017 so that schools/centers/departments have ample time to review the arrangements they have with service providers.
  • Compliance Date – By July 1, 2017, all existing service providers/independent contractors will have been reviewed and issues resolved.

Individual Service Provider Help Desk

If you have questions related to classifying an individual service provider, email the Individual Service Provider Help Desk at