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Any HR-ish people about? AIBU that they won't adjust how I'm paid?

(122 Posts)
LoTeQuiero Thu 26-Nov-15 17:30:25

Genuine AIBU here. I've namechanged as if I were outed it would be fairly disastrous!

I started working freelance for a company at the beginning of the year. It wasn't supposed to be a freelance position but I couldn't do the office time they wanted so we worked out a pattern that we were all happy with. We agreed an initial pay scale which paid x amount for x amount of work (in terms of research and carrying it out). Fast forward six months and now I'm finding that each piece of work is taking around double the amount of research so my output is lower but time spent working is longer.

They now want me in the office 3 days a week. This is difficult for me because of childcare but it is do-able. However they now expect me to pay for my own travel and carry out the complicated pieces all based on the same pay scale. I have explained my position to the CEO (politely!) during a conversation with him and also to my first line manager via email but they have both said the same thing which roughly goes - tough, you agreed at the beginning and the requirements haven't changed. Except they have, the complexity of the pieces has increased and the amount of research has soared.

I am not an employee of the company and I just don't know if what I'm asking is reasonable (moving to a more time-based payment scale, i.e. contracted to, or an agreement for, x amount of hours in which x amount of pieces will be produced). I haven't been specific but I have listed my issues (in a non-combative manner) and they don't want to know.

If I turn it down I suspect they will start to phase me out but if I accept then I suspect that a) I will lose money and b) I will be incredibly resentful and feel like I've let myself down.

However if I'm BU then please, please tell me and I shall suck it up!

TIA x

PennyHasNoSurname Thu 26-Nov-15 17:33:36

Honestly I would be frank. "I would be interested in coming on board, for the three days, however the Salary I would be expecting is in excess of what you are offering".

PennyHasNoSurname Thu 26-Nov-15 17:35:24

If they are demanding so much from you now that you are esentially only being paid half the agreed rate then do you even want to continue?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 26-Nov-15 17:37:53

Are you paying your own tax & NI? Have you checked that you meet the requirements to be freelance? If you just have this one client, you aren't likely too.

That aside, if you genuinely are freelance, than all you can do is say that you're increasing your rate to X, to cover the increased complexity of the projects and the additional travel time, in effect from the 1st January or whatever notice period your contract says you need to provide.

They can accept and you can carry on and invoice at the higher amount, or they can decide they don't need your services anymore.

There is not much detail in your post, but if you agreed £X for each piece of work, but the research time is more than you included, that's not really their problem. You can ask for them to consider paying more, which you've done, but they don't need to accept and they've shown you that they are not likely too.

Time-based payment scales are hugely unpopular. Freelancers dislike them because if they get faster at something, they get paid less, and companies dislike them because there's too much risk for an employee to overestimate the time that something took. A per piece of work or per project basis is generally much better for everyone, as long as you quote for the work correctly.

Mistigri Thu 26-Nov-15 17:39:42

First of all it sounds like you are not genuinely self-employed - they should be paying you a salary.

Being a freelancer has its advantages and its disadvantages - you can tell them tomorrow that you're not doing any more projects because they are not paying enough, bill them for completed work, and go on your merry way.

OTOH they have no obligations to you either - except to pay you as agreed for work already done.

My DH is self employed doing freelance work for a couple of big clients and he quite often says "no" or "yes but you'll have to increase the rate".

LoTeQuiero Thu 26-Nov-15 17:43:47

Hi Penny, thank you for the response.

Yes, that's my quandary - they are a good and growing company who can provide a lot of high quality work.

I don't earn a salary as such because of being freelance, I complete a set number of pieces per week (supplied by my manager) in various bandings. So the pay can range from around £500 per week to less than £100.

I also think that the amount of pieces being assigned has a lot to do with the work being undertaken by my manager. She has to check it and if she's busy then she assigns less. The conversation with the CEO was enlightening because he'd noticed a reduction in pieces and assumed it was because I was writing less. In fact, I was being assigned less - I can only write what I am given!

LoTeQuiero Thu 26-Nov-15 17:47:04

Yes I do pay my own tax and NI and I am self-employed. No, they are not my only client, but they are my biggest. I don't have the time for any more clients.

Anchor thank you, that's interesting. The project wasn't one I could have quoted for comprehensively at the beginning - it's evolved.

Mistigri Thu 26-Nov-15 18:12:34

She's not your "manager", you're self-employed ..

I think you are in an awkward position half-say between salaried employment and genuine self-employment. If they want you to go into the office, as a freelancer, then it needs to be on terms that have been formally agreed between you and your client (not your employer, not your manager - they are your client, they contract with you to provide a service, and they have no automatic right to dictate your physical location of work or your hours).

Mistigri Thu 26-Nov-15 18:13:07

*half-way between, that should say!

DragonRojo Thu 26-Nov-15 20:11:39

Also, of you are office based for 12 consecutive weeks, you automatically acquire the rights of any employee. Keep that in mind. I only learnt that last week at a seminar about employment law

LoTeQuiero Thu 26-Nov-15 20:34:48

Hmm, OK. Thank you smile

I used the word manager as she does indeed 'manage' me, for want of a better description!

We had an initial conversation about me coming into the office to work and at the time the CEO didn't have an answer as to how he wanted to play it. It was subsequent to that conversation that he emailed and said he didn't feel the need to change the working relationship or pay scale and that I had to come into the office and pay travel costs myself. During the first conversation I remember thinking - if he doesn't offer some incentive then I'm not doing it.

Thank you Dragon.

Potatoface2 Thu 26-Nov-15 21:21:08

I'm at a loss to the travel costs.....is that from your home to the office....I don't know any job that pays for you to get into work or home again...travel costs of sending you places should be covered though

LoTeQuiero Thu 26-Nov-15 22:13:17

Yep, petrol and parking was covered previously.

Stormtreader Fri 27-Nov-15 16:31:12

Yes I do pay my own tax and NI and I am self-employed. No, they are not my only client, but they are my biggest. I don't have the time for any more clients.

You dont have the time for any more clients if you stay with them. If you refuse the generous offer of "loads more work for less money" then that will free up time for other clients who pay better.

Radiatorvalves Fri 27-Nov-15 16:46:37

Dragon Rojo - that is not correct. There is a lot more to it than being at the same place of work for 12 weeks.

OP I think you need a frank discussion with them - but you need to be prepared to walk away.

LoTeQuiero Sun 29-Nov-15 12:46:44

Thanks everyone. I am at the moment just ignoring the issue - but there is communication going on regarding the actual work itself.

I think I'm going to say that I will carry out the initial batch of in depth work that's been assigned at home and I will travel into the office one day per week to show willing.

I'm wary of being utterly unreasonable over this - but also wary of being taken advantage of?! I'm not an experienced work place person (only started working after my divorce two years ago, despite having a degree in Law!)

LoTeQuiero Sun 29-Nov-15 12:50:11

Oh and I should probably add that I was informed the CEO would "expect" a certain amount of work completed per day in line with the original agreement. The new work is taking at least double the length of time.

OurBlanche Sun 29-Nov-15 13:04:15

Tell the CEO that the new work arrangements cancel any existing understanding, he can't have it both ways. Explain everything clearly, slowly, often.

I was informed the CEO would "expect" but you also said that he was surprised at the reason for the recent reduction in your work. is the 'manager' translating for you both? Talk to the CEO directly, do not allow the manager to act as a go between.

Good luck

RB68 Sun 29-Nov-15 13:13:59

I don't think you meet the requirements to be considered self employed - you do not have full control over hours worked or location of work for a start - check out HMRC site for more info.

All contracts can be renegotiated or reviewed. This is all part of the bullshit freelancers get. I think its perfectly reasonable if they are changing all the circumstances - hrs, type of work, frequency of work etc and contract is coming up to some sort of anniversary say 6mths or 12 mths a review is acceptable - but don't be bullied by them.

RB68 Sun 29-Nov-15 13:16:57

I would work on building other working relationships with other customers for a better balance of work as this gives you more power in the situation. THey may be assuming you can't walk away from the work - whilst that may be the case today - with a little work that doesn't have to be the case in a couple of months time. As to wanting you in the office this may be a direct result of lower output issue, so maybe some convo around that would reduce that requirement and especially if you point out it cold entitle you to staff status, holiday, NI, mat leave etc and other implications that go along with that.

freshoutofluck Sun 29-Nov-15 13:52:04

Hmm, I think you might need to set out your concerns that this would be at risk of becoming an employee (in which case, the company would need to pay employer's NI and there would be pension cost implications for them etc). I would be wary of describing your client contact person as your 'manager' - she may co-ordinate your work, but she does not manage you as a person, unless she controls your professional development, manages your sickness or holiday absence...

If you want to retain a relationship where you are self-employed and they are one of your clients (albeit a majority one) then you'll need to ensure you can demonstrate your autonomy to complete contracted projects/engage sub-contractors to do them. If you have a written agreement for the incomplete parcel of work, I doubt you can change the financial arrangement mid-project (unless you can prove the scope has significantly altered at the request of the client).

When it is time to negotiate the next parcel of work, ensure your fees include enough to cover travel expenses. As long as they're not your main place of work, I believe you can claim those on your self assessment tax return (but do check!)

febreeze Sun 29-Nov-15 14:07:01

You are not self employed.

Do you have indemnity insurance and public liability?

You urgently need advice from a specialist accountant or you could end up in even more of a mess that you are currently.

Do you work through a limited company?

DisappointedOne Sun 29-Nov-15 14:10:53

I'm at a loss to the travel costs.....is that from your home to the office....I don't know any job that pays for you to get into work or home again...travel costs of sending you places should be covered though

This is only the case for employed staff. Self employed staff and consultants routinely get paid to travel to a site.

LoTeQuiero Sun 29-Nov-15 14:16:47

I have an accountant! I'm assuming that she deals with everything as it should be?!

Hmmm, I've had some interesting responses and I'm ever so grateful for all of your help.

Does it read like I'm being bullied?? In a small way of course?

I think a strategically worded email to the CEO might be in order. I really want to stay 'in' with this company though as they're expanding and there's the promise of more and varied work.

talkinnpeace Sun 29-Nov-15 17:18:36

I really want to stay 'in' with this company though as they're expanding and there's the promise of more and varied work.

And they know it
call their bluff

think like a bloke and look after yourself not them

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