I got an offer to work as a contractor (W2) at a major social network company in the SF Bay Area. The person from the 3rd party agency (the one I will be officially getting my paychecks from) has been dealing with me with extreme urgency, demanding all necessary documents and requesting me to sign all the paperwork as soon as possible, so I could start on August 20 (a Monday).

That was all ok for me, so I just submitted everything that was requested and resigned at my current (former) employee with appropriate notice. Since I have a tight budget and don't want to go too long without getting a paycheck, I set my final date to the middle of the week before Aug 20.

Up until Friday 4pm everything was fine and on track for my Aug 20 start date. That's when I receive a phone call from this 3rd party agency saying that it would have to be delayed by a whole week (to Aug 27th) and I wouldn't get paid at all for the week of the 20th. At first the person said it was because my background check was delayed, and then she changed the story and said it was because other contractors would start on the 27th and it would be easier to have everyone onboard together.

Regardless of the reason, I feel that since I had confirmation on the start date and quit my previous, stable job, that's a really unfair treatment. It has bothered me a lot over the last couple of days, and I really want to pursue a resolution on that (I feel like getting paid in full for that initial week would be pretty reasonable). But at the same time, I don't want to be too aggressive, since this is a new job at a company I don't know anyone yet.

What do you think is the best course of action here?

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    Best course of action with what goal in mind? You want to be compensated for that "lost" time? You want the start date to go back to the original? Please clarify – DarkCygnus Aug 20 '18 at 23:42
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    I want to be compensated for that lost time, I don't think there's any margin to go back to the original start date – Amanda C. Aug 21 '18 at 16:14

So with the consultant setup and the third party setup this makes sense and has happened to me as well. In my case I had another interview and ended up going with that company and the other one called a week or so later to hire me and I turned them down at that point.

The issue is that the 3rd party is not willing to staff without signed contracts with the primary company. The primary company also is using the 3rd party to avoid employment commitment directly. Ultimately this puts you in the “expendable” category. Usually the third party contract has a “conditional” clause which prevents them from responsibility should their primary contract not work out.

If the above is accurate you are at their mercy and would need to wait or find alternate work. You might ask your current employer for an extension due to a delay at your new job...if you have good relations with them. I would definitely keep looking and applying until you have a solid job and start...just in case.

I’m sorry you are in this spot. If the job comes through and you work there keep an eye out for that end date on the contract and prepare prior to that. Even if it’s a permanent placement as a sub-contractor things change beyond people’s control sometimes. Remember it’s better to choose between 2 options than be stuck waiting on one to finalize, but I know that isn’t always possible. Good luck!

  • Thank you very much for the answer, it has clarified the situation a lot for me. So in your opinion, I shouldn't even pursue any kind of complaint with the 3rd party or with the main employer? – Amanda C. Aug 21 '18 at 16:16
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    Not unless they promised a start date in writing without a conditional clause. It sucks but that would only put a black mark on you towards future work with them. In your position they have all the power at this point. Sorry – mutt Aug 21 '18 at 17:48
  • Thank you so much. I guess I'll just have to suck it up.. what made my blood boil is the call on a Friday at 4pm.. such lack of consideration. – Amanda C. Aug 21 '18 at 21:06
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    @AmandaC. even though it might feel socially awkward, I recommend at least putting out a feeler to your current employer--would they like another week of work from you? That may be a very welcome offer in their eyes. – msouth Aug 22 '18 at 16:20

Step 1 Continue to apply for other positions, and if any of them contact you before the start date take the interview.

Step 2 Review all the paperwork you have signed, make sure there were no remaining conditions on their offer. A background investigation is a condition.

Step 3 if there are no remaining conditions then see if the paperwork specifies any penalties on their part for failure to provide employment on the agreed upon date.

If there is no recourse specified in the contract you have to decide if the week of missing salary is worth the fight. A local attorney will be able to review any paperwork to determine what recourse you have and the risks and costs involved.

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