SLA/PO = freelancing without a contract?
February 16, 2017 12:09 PM   Subscribe

My new job seems pretty good, but the terms have me a bit worried. The invoice cycles are uncomfortably long, not including processing time. Also, although it is regular work with a dedicated team, I have only a verbal agreement of my pay rate.

The company contracting me is pretty well known in the industry. The job is in the tech/editing field.

The company supplies larger companies with "vendors" (contractors) for specific projects. My team is officially based in Europe. I have no contract , per se;

I signed an NDA, an SLA, and after a painfully long invoice period, I will receive a Product Order, to which I can submit my invoice of hours logged and receive the rate agreed upon with my interviewer.

Is this normal? I'm uncomfortable doing all this work when I have nothing in writing, and it's inconvenient waiting months to get paid. I would like this job to work out, however, so I am trying to be optimistic, but I'd like to know if I should be wary.

Thanks in advance.
posted by ldjflut to Work & Money (5 answers total)
You need your own terms and conditions. I would stipulate 15 or 28 day term. They are getting a raw deal from you and may try to threaten you if you make noises. Considering they have only a verbal agreement with you I would look to the SLA. Ask for a key performance audit meeting, which will probably blindside them, get their feedback on your numbers. Then, present your terms. It may backfire but at least you will have more sense for the next remote role.
posted by parmanparman at 12:23 PM on February 16, 2017

No, they are giving OP the raw deal?

Waiting months to be paid is ridiculous. What does the SLA say?

If I were you, I would do no work until you have the agreed on rate and terms documented. Doing otherwise is opening up yourself to being exploited and not paid what you are worth.
posted by canine epigram at 12:49 PM on February 16, 2017

Welcome to the Blue/Green. You are getting the short end of the stick here in a big way. There's no legitimate business reason to pay individuals (even if they are "vendors") on anything longer than a Net 30 basis. The fact that they are even proposing to pay you only after a "painfully long" period is a huge red flag to me, at least if you are in the U.S.

Where are you located, and where is your boss? How many employees does the contracting company have? Are they "pretty well known" for paying their vendors on time?

Do you have something (even an email) in writing saying what your hourly rate is, from a person with authority at the company that will be paying you? You need that at the very least.

Suggest you keep detailed time records (to the quarter hour, at least) for all work you, so you have some backup when they try to dicker with you on the number of hours you worked. Expect a fight.
posted by radicalawyer at 2:22 PM on February 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't deal with this company in a month of Sundays. Whether they are "well known" or not is utterly irrelevant, and in fact is an even bigger red flag that they will have an attitude of doing whatever the hell they want. NDAs and SLAs are only for arrangements where one party is paying the other, and you ain't getting paid shit and there's no compelling evidence you ever will be, since there's no actual employment contract in place. Ick.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:35 PM on February 16, 2017

It is absolutely not normal or acceptable to begin work without anything in writing about when, how, and how much you will be paid.

Clients From Hell has plenty of stories that begin like yours (or like variations of yours) and end with "I guess it's time to see them in court."

If they're a legit company that has an odd structure but wants to treat its vendors well, you can find that out by emailing a supervisor (or whoever you report to) something like, "Hi there; I just want to confirm the details of the project I'll be working on - I expect it to take [#] hours/days/weeks and that I'll be paid $X per hour, by check, two weeks after I send in my monthly progress report," or whatever details are appropriate in your case.

If they push back on providing details, tell 'em you're looking for a new apartment and need verification of income. Or... just walk away, because their reply should tell you whether they have a business infrastructure in place, or whether they intend to pay you at all.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:00 AM on February 17, 2017

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