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A few questions about a contract role

(46 Posts)
Sharpkat Tue 11-Mar-14 23:01:55

Hi all

I just need a bit of advice.

I am almost half way through a 6 month FTC. I have no contract and will not receive one. I have asked. When I have done contract roles previously I have been paid weekly, but in this role I am paid monthly. Without a contract I had no idea this would be the case.

I am performing well and they are talking about making me perm but they are also working me into the ground. Am working 12 hours a day and am still behind. Not my fault - the workload is beyond what they had previously thought it would be. In fact it is double.

I am having to work UK & US hours due to the nature of the work.

Another reason why I am behind is I had to do a full day's training with the permanent members of staff last week. I am the only contractor. My rusty period of being in HR says that I should not be on training courses though it is a long time and I know contractor rules have changed.

I am paid a day rate. Previously through my umbrella company I could claim back travel and lunch expenses. No idea if I can here as I have no contract and am not getting one.

Any advice at all? If I should not be on training courses then that gives me ammo as to why I am so behind. Bottom line is I am bing seriously overworked and told to put up and shut up and there are just not enough hours in the day.

Thanks all

flowery Wed 12-Mar-14 08:06:18

Not sure why you think you shouldn't be on training courses just because you are fixed term rather than permanent, but that isn't the case. If anything, you definitely should, as you are entitled to be treated no less favourably than permanent staff.

I'm not entirely clear what it is you are asking tbh. Presumably you have no desire to stay with the company once you've finished your contract, so do you really need "ammo" to explain why you are behind?

Sharpkat Wed 12-Mar-14 08:12:05

Hi flowery

Thanks for the reply. The training course was entirely irrelevant for my day job. I had thought that contractors were not supposed to go on training courses as you are in effect treating them as permanent employees.

Am I entitled to a contract?

Am very upset as someone sent an email bccing the world about how behind I am. I know. I have raised it. There is far more work than I can do in the hours I work and I am already having to work weekends to keep on top of it.

I do want to stay on with the company but I do not think the permanent salary they will offer me will match expectations or what I could get elsewhere.

flowery Wed 12-Mar-14 08:19:47

Yes you are entitled to a contract, same as a permanent employee - the fact that your employment has an end date doesn't affect your rights.

If you've raised the issue of your workload being completely unmanageable with your manager, what was the reaction? This doesn't sound sustainable and do you have any reason to think it will change if they call you permanent rather than fixed term?

Sharpkat Wed 12-Mar-14 08:38:50

I have asked about a contract but been told I am not getting one.

Workload is unlikely to change going forwards.

When I raised the workload I just got told to put up with it. It is working US and UK hours which is killing me.

Guess I just have to suck it up.

flowery Wed 12-Mar-14 08:57:36

Why do you want to stay then? The workload is killing you and is unlikely to change, and you don't think they'll offer you a decent salary to go permanent. confused

PigletJohn Wed 12-Mar-14 09:10:52

I hope you are looking for another job.

If you are a fixed-term employee then in the absence of anything else being agreed, it ends at the end of the fixed term.

It would be very undesirable to shackle yourself to an employer that treats its employees so badly.

You are under no obligation to work 12-hour days, and it is not doing you any good. No overtime pay, no promotion, no pay rise, no job offer. Once you have come to terms with the fact that you have an end date, you can stop trying to kill yourself.

You are an employee not a contractor so you can't claim travel to work or lunches. However if you are asked to travel during your work, it will be at the employers expense so they should pay fares or mileage like they do for any other employee.

If they refuse to give you a written contract of employment, you have an implied one. Next time, you will know better than to accept a job without a contract. If they try to give you a back-dated contract prior to your scheduled leave date, examine it carefully before you decide to accept it. Don't sign away your rights just because they bully you.

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 08:54:06

Thanks both for your very helpful messages. It has certainly given me food for thought.

I have just been checking a few things. Was too upset yesterday to articulate myself very well.

I am working through an agency (US based) on a day rate. I have just found an email which states: "Employment status: Contractor."

Does this change things? It is a 6 month contract.

I do not get holiday pay or paid leave.

I am so confused now and think I am completely being taken for a ride......

Thanks in advance for any advice.

flowery Thu 13-Mar-14 09:06:47

Sounds like they are taking you for a ride yes. Employment status isn't something they get to choose, and the rights of fixed term employees aren't something they can opt out of by calling you "contractor". If you're doing a normal job that would normally be done by an employed person, in the same way as an employed person would, and are under their direction, you're employed whether they like it or not. Even if you were a worker rather than an employee you'd be entitled to holiday.

Seriously, staying there isn't something you should be considering.

MmeMorrible Thu 13-Mar-14 09:33:17

If you are earning a day rate i.e. you are paid a flat daily fee for each day you work then surely you are a contractor. A fixed term contract would normally be paid a monthly salary at a similar rate to a permanent employee but for a set period of time e.g. 6 months.

Not sure what you are asking?

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 09:38:34

Are you paid by the agency or are you paid by the company?

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 09:43:05

I am paid by a US agency by completing a time sheet every week stating number of days worked.

Am trying to ascertain my employment status and therefore rights.

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 09:48:45

So you are describing yourself as an agency worker.

flowery Thu 13-Mar-14 11:16:33

Even if you are an agency worker you are still entitled to holiday pay.

Given you only have 3 months left I would suggest not working yourself into the ground any more, speaking to your agency about holiday pay and seeking alternative employment.

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 11:36:12

I have just gone back through all of my records. It looks as though it is a US payroll company not recruitment agency.

I have an email from them saying: "we are pleased to offer you a contract position with company x".

I have also found an email from HR at company x saying: "it is not mandatory training for you because of your contractor status."

Sorry I am being so hopeless explaining this. You would never know I work in HR hmm

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 11:50:06

and does the agency issue you with a payslip showing tax and NI deductions?

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 11:51:23

I receive a payslip with tax and NI deductions. That comes from somewhere in the UK though.

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 11:52:57

what company name is on it?

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 12:03:26

I will check that this evening. Cannot remember seeing a company name on it.

LauraBridges Thu 13-Mar-14 19:47:10

So we are getting there. It sounds like you are an employee of the agency company who take tax and NI off. You are not self employed. The agency company then provides your services to their own client.

Therefore teh agency company is an employer surely under English law and has an obligation to provide payslips which it does and also must provide a written statement of your employment terms even if it is a fixed term contract. You would also be subject to the maximum 48 hour working week too unless a written contract opted you out of it.

Tell the US agency company they are your employer and you need a written statement of your employment conditions, pay, holiday entitlements, notice period etc etc.

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 20:15:53

The company name on my payslips is that of the US payroll company so Laura it would seem you are right. I need to speak to them. Will try them now.

GarthsUncle Thu 13-Mar-14 20:40:37

Good luck OP. You don't have to put up with this.

You are paying tax and NI - I think the not doing training is more applicable to you having your own company and selling your services.

How did you end up working through the agency?

Sharpkat Thu 13-Mar-14 21:30:04

I am not sure how I have ended up being employed via this payroll company. My employment history is full of gaps so I think they did not want to offer me a permanent role as I look like someone who moves roles all the time and takes huge periods of time off, but I can explain it all. Personal illness, study and bereavement.

The company that I 'work' for offered me a 6 month contract. Day rate. Payrolled via this US company. Whenever I have had a day rate before I have been paid weekly. Now it is monthly though I had no idea as I have no paperwork.

So many things have been said that make me want to leave but most employers run a mile when they see my patchy employment history so a bit of stability makes the CV look better.

Based on everything I have now established am I a worker or contractor?

I really do appreciate everyone's help, advice and support thanks

Marraskuu Thu 13-Mar-14 22:06:03

If you are: working to complete a specific documented piece of work, responsible for managing your own time and workload to complete the required work, providing your own equipment, responsible for maintaining your own skill levels, paid without any source deductions for tax or national insurance, and would be responsible for finding someone else to complete the scope of work if you were incapacitated, then you're a contractor.

If you are: fulfilling a permanent role in the company (even if you're not permanent), not working through a third party employment agency, and have your duties delegated to you by a manager on a day to day basis, then you have the right to be treated equally as an employee. People on fixed term contracts should still be treated as employees, although they are sometimes excluded from specific company benefits such as joining the pension.

If you are doing the employee duties above, but are engaged and paid through a third party agency, you're an agency worker. The agency is your employer. You still have rights, but these are based on how long you have been continuously placed in the same role. The rights include statutory sick pay and holiday entitlement, which should be paid by your agency, not by the company you're placed in.

The HMRC website is quite good on this - have a look at their section on employment vs being self-employed:

Whatever turns out to be the case, your working hours seem excessive and pressured. You say you're paid on a daily rate. I would ask for a definition of a standard working day. If you're not paid hourly, and this is not your dream job with potential, there doesn't seem to be much incentive to keep up this punishing pace!

Hope you get things untangled soon, and the workload becomes more manageable smile

GarthsUncle Thu 13-Mar-14 22:18:29

Yy to getting paid an hourly rate.

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