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Ask HR Services: Game Officials and Workers

Young women playing soccer - green and white uniforms versus white and blue uniforms, referee in foreground wearing yellow shirt and black shorts holding a red and yellow flag

Are game officials and game workers independent contractors?

Game officials meet the definition of independent contractors according to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Districts don’t have any control over the selection and assignment of these workers. Some districts pay game officials through accounts payable and issue 1099 forms. Other districts use a private company to manage payments and generate tax forms.

Off-duty police officers who work full-time for another entity or municipality are also typically paid as independent contractors. This may be a requirement of the primary employer who authorizes the off-duty officer to use department equipment and wear their uniform for outside employment.

Other game workers (e.g., ticket takers, concession stand workers, and parking lot attendants) do not meet the DOL or IRS criteria for classification as an independent contractor. These workers should be classified as district employees and paid through payroll.

Additional information on paying game officials and game workers can be found in the HRX article Third-Party Payer OK for Game Officials but Not for Game Workers.

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April Mabry
April Mabry
TASB HR Services Assistant Director

April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools  since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.

Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.

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