• Yvonne Root

Santa’s Elves – Employees or Independent Contractors?




Have you ever wondered about what goes on up at The North Pole? Some folks have questions concerning strategy and logistics. For others, the concern is over nutrition and health issues. Our most recent query had to do with the employment status of all those faithful elves — time for some research.


Because Santa is in his office going through all those reports and the elves are busily building the multitude of toys, we were unable to contact the inhabitants of The North Pole.


We get it. It’s their “busy season.” They have important work to do.


So, we decided to ask those who are close to the source — the children.


Highly Unscientific Research

We called in the three office helpers aged eight, twelve, and sixteen to get their take on the situation. The first thing we did was ask them, “Are Santa’s elves employees or independent contractors?”


They didn’t know.


Detective Skills to the Rescue

We figured these office helpers – who know a great deal about the workers in question – would be able to give us enough details that we would be able to flesh out the answer.


Here are the questions we asked:


Do Santa’s elves work

  • Only in December

  • About three months a year

  • Year-round


How are they paid?

  • In cash

  • With the extra cookies Santa brings home

  • Some other way ____________ [name it]


Do they

  • Have to follow the toy building instructions

  • Come up with toy ideas of their own

  • Work on an assembly line


Are they in charge of

  • When they will work

  • Where they will work

  • Something else ____________ [what is it?]


They are considered “merry” because

  • They are always smiling

  • They whistle while they work

  • It is a job requirement


Besides being short, what other requirements are necessary to get their jobs?

  • Excellent skills for toy building

  • Great attitude

  • Ability to work without supervision


What else do you know about Santa’s elves?


Okay, so we tossed in a few questions that did not pertain to the issue at hand, but we’re a curious lot.


Sorting through the “Facts”

While there wasn’t always agreement concerning all the answers, we detected enough to put together what we believe is the answer to our original question -- “Are Santa’s elves employees or independent contractors?”


This is what we discovered:

  • The elves are seasonal workers – working about three months of the year.

  • Santa doesn’t bring home any extra cookies – the eight-year-old says the elves are paid magically, the twelve-year-old says they get cash, and the sixteen-year-old says they “Probably receive housing and community stuff.”

  • The elves must carefully follow the specs for each toy.

  • They are not in charge of when or where they will work.

  • The elves are considered “merry” because (from youngest to oldest) 1) it’s a job requirement, 2) they whistle while they work, and 3) they are always smiling. 🤷‍♀️

  • The only other requirement of the elves is that they have excellent toy-building skills.


As for the last question on our little questionnaire, the middle child knows they wear red and green uniforms. The youngest says they are secretly the Santa 🎅 at the mall. And the oldest adds this bit of wisdom, “I bet they have a large community, and they probably function like a regular little village during the off-season.”


What We Discovered

The elves are employees.


Here are the pieces of the puzzle:

  • They are seasonal workers – don’t make the mistake of thinking that short-term work means the elves are classified as independent contractors. Employment can be short-term too.

  • The elves must carefully follow the specs for each toy.

  • They are not in charge of when or where they will work.

  • The elves are economically reliant on Santa to earn a living.


The part about the red and green clothing can be a bit tricky when determining employment status. But if everyone who shows up for work is required to wear a uniform (unless it is for safety purposes), they are more likely employees.


Still Have Questions?

Do you have questions concerning whether your construction elves are employees or independent contractors? Get in touch. We’ll help you figure that out.



Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:


  • Clients and customers

  • Employees and subcontractors

  • Vendors and service providers

  • Governmental entities


Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:


  • Remain informed

  • Avoid hassles

  • Reduce risks

  • Be future-ready


Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. 866-629-7735


13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All