Overtime Contract Terms
This reader’s client reneged on his overtime contract terms. It appears that clients only adhere to contract terms when they want to.
I got the offer of a 12 month contract to do a major project for a well-known financial services company. The nature of the project meant there would be a lot of overtime and weekend work.
I had my contract all signed off. I signed, the agency signed, then the client signed. It was 100% legally binding AFAIK. I was the co-team leader on this project not just another contractor for hire .
My contract clearly stated my overtime rates of pay for higher amounts on weekend work than out of hours work Mon-Fri. The high overtime rates were the major factor which made me accept the role. It was not something I wanted to do. I knew it would be high stress due to the nature of the project. So obviously you want high money for high stress!
Project Ramping Up
2nd week I am talking with another contractor (good friend as well actually) about how much money I am going to earn this coming weekend now the project is ramping up. The manager overhears this and has a melt down!
Even though he happily signed the contract, and so did the agency. it was an oversight according to him. Unless I agreed to tear this document up immediately he would sack me on the spot. He said that they cannot under any circumstances honour the overtime rates. This meant I would be required to write off the overtime I had already done in my first 2 weeks. I had to consider it free work. I willingly did to keep the client happy.
However, I was naturally not very keen on this. I felt a signed document was legally binding so I spoke to the head of the agency and he told me exactly what you already knew he would – tear up the contract it‘s a mistake & was never meant to include any over time rates. You have to work the extra hours for free to keep the client happy!
Unhappy Project Experience
The rest of the project was not a nice experience for me. My relationship with the manager was an unhappy one. That’s especially as the moment I agreed to the revised no-overtime contract he called a team meeting and told everyone they had to work a minimum of 2 hours per day unpaid leave to ensure the project stayed on schedule. That was the real reason for his strong-arm tactics.
I stayed another 9 months. I then gave my notice without seeing the project out as the manager became quite abusive work wise. He was a dictator and also willing to humiliate you in front of others to demonstrate his position of power over you. Also, he was a real dick about signing timesheets off. He left them to the very last minute every single week! That’s not the best way to treat your contractors.
Overtime Contract Terms – Urgent Issue
The final straw came when I stayed several hours to fix a VIP‘s urgent issue in my own time totally unpaid. So I was doing the manager a massive favour to prevent this VIP complaining to upper management. Next day I was pretty tired as I was also on the early shift but instead of supporting me the manager asked me to cover his entire dept for a few hours whilst they all went down the pub for a perm only meeting! (yeah right!!).
A few days later I handed my notice in. It became obvious the manager was never going to change. He was getting more abusive with his manner and was not bothered in any way about treating his contractors like human beings. So I just went somewhere else and left him to reflect on the why!
He did not really care either way as by then his attitude and manner had become atrocious.
In my experience, a legally binding IT contract is only watertight if you‘re prepared to enforce it in a court of law. I have done several contracts where the client was not prepared to honour their side when it would cost them a lot of money to do so. They usually tell you verbally only via the agency so they can wriggle out of it if you decide to enforce in a court of law (record your calls if you have any doubts but how often would any of us think that would be necessary).
Take action if your client wants to break your overtime contract terms.
Fro more advice on dealing with awkward clients click on Clients Advice.
Ad – Contractor Services
If you do need an umbrella company you could try one of the following:-
Or would you prefer to get expert advice about which umbrella company is right for your specific needs? If so fill in the form below and they will be in touch.
For Mortgages specially designed for contractors try Specialist Contractor Mortgages.
For all necessary business insurance, including IR35, try Business Insurance for Contractors