Affected independent contractors say there’s nowhere to turn during pandemic

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Ben Amato, the owner and operator of Amato Enterprises, has all of his trucks, trailers and equipment put up at the moment. At the time, he said he is unsure when he will be able to get it out for good again.

“We’re just being left out in the cold,” Amato said.

His company’s work has been brought to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a 1099 employee, he doesn’t qualify for unemployment, leaving him in limbo.

“I mean we’re basically working until the windows run out of the warehouse, and from what I understand that might be in a week or two and then we’re done – we have no income coming in,” he said.

His work relies on sales associates with certain companies to make window sales to customers. When they do, he gets a call to contract the work and install the windows. However, without the events taking place for the sales associates to sell windows, the calls for work don’t come in.

Three employees work with Amato. He said he isn’t sure how he is going to pay them in the coming weeks. With four sons also at home, he has applied for relief loans, but has gotten denied so far.

“I don’t know what the government has in plan long term, much less short term, for the independent contractor,” Amato said.

Amato added that the future after the pandemic is also bleak. Without the cash flow needed, he isn’t able to make payments to continue his contracting work.

“What happens when we do finally get that phone call?” Amato said. “Now you’re under a general liability audit because you haven’t paid your dues for four months to the insurance company. You see what I’m saying? Where do we come up with that money to even go back to work.”

That’s not even the only hurdle he’ll face.

“We have to recover from the economy still or people won’t want to spend that kind of money on home renovations,” he said.

For now, he said he hopes he can find work with whatever business has work to offer.

“I mean, it’s almost like winning the lottery at this point,” he said.

According to Amato, he said he is aware of the possible stimulus payments from the government. However, with that not officially passed yet, he said there’s nowhere to turn.

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