Contractors' Questions: What if the in-between weeks aren't on my new rate?

Contractor’s Question: My contract end-date came and went but I was asked by my client to keep working, which I did for three weeks, at which point a new end-date was set.

Beforehand, during the initial contract, my agency agreed to a rate rise but told me to wait to see if I’d be extended first. Well, I have been extended and the higher rate’s been applied but not for the three weeks I already worked of this new working period. What should I do?

Expert’s Answer: From the details you’ve provided, it would appear that you are an independent contractor who has worked for a company (client) on a contract basis i.e. you were hired to work on a specific project for a specific amount of time. The agent, the client and you the contractor are essentially all in a symbiotic relationship.

The method for remunerating a contractor is ascertained by the agreement that is set up between the pertinent parties. The contract (written/verbal) determines the rate of pay and must therefore be revisited and thoroughly scrutinised. One would imagine that additional relevant terms have been incorporated in the agreement, namely:  

  • How often the contractor gets paid (the information you’ve given suggests this is weekly)
  • What the milestones for payment are 
  • Consequences of late payment
  • Repercussions for tardy work 
  • The outcome of unacceptable work

It is imperative that the said-terms regarding payment had been decided before you, the contractor, commenced work on the project.  

With respect to contract negotiation or in this instance, renegotiation, the client project manager and you, as the contractor, would have agreed on the material terms and the agent would have been responsible for making sure the deal materialises. The amount of increased remuneration and the germane time period should have been agreed by telephone/email and the agent should have furnished a revised hard copy of the contract to the client and you, the contractor, requiring your signature and theirs.

Prior to a contract’s extension/renewal, it is not uncommon for an agent to have a follow-up conversation with the other two parties to ensure the contract is running smoothly. It is during this time that the contractor should comprehensively vocalise their concerns and/or demands which would spark the renegotiation process. In any event, you must converse with the agent and try and get them to rectify the oversight. 

The expert was Mekael Rahman of Lawdit Solicitors.

Thursday 29th June 2017