If you genuinely provide services for payment as an independent contractor, you are not an employee and the hirer is not an employer.
It is sometimes difficult to work out whether you are an independent contractor or an employee, especially if you provide services only to one hirer. Cleaners and IT professionals, for example, may fall into either category depending on the circumstances of their engagement, including the terms of their contract.
The difference is important because different laws and mutual obligations apply to each type of relationship. You could easily be an independent contractor for one job and an employee for the next. This is often the case in the building and construction industry. It is important to understand that an independent contractor is subject to different tax, insurance and pension requirements.