As part of my work I go to various retail locations to promote and demonstrate products. Normally this work is done as a contractor but the particular agency considers me as an employee.

I got assigned a shift which was scheduled to end after the store closed. This happened twice in a row. My coordinator knows this happened. The second time the coordinator must have found out and changed everyone's schedule to earlier last minute. I wasn't able to accommodate this change (he called me 6 times to ask how close I was and it was really irritating). A simplified example is my shift was scheduled 10-6 but my coordinator realized the store closes at 5 so at 8:30 he messages that schedule has changed 9-5.

I submit invoices which include the hours I worked (I get paid by hour). Given what happened I'm not sure what would be fair or what I should do? Should I put in the hours I actually worked or the hours that I was scheduled to work? Normally I don't expect to get paid when not working but this was not something I had control over.

I haven't spoke with my coordinator yet, I want to first decide what I want.

My coordinator is new to the area I am working in and was surprised when he learned the store closed when it did, but said this happened to many others as well.

PS if I'm submitting an invoice doesn't that usually mean I'm a contractor and not an employee?

  • Please include your location. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


Because you are asking this question, I assume that you do not have a separate contract with the coordinating agency that specifies who promises to do what for whom at what rates and under which guarantees.

You should always invoice the hours that you actually worked. The invoice is a source document that may be depended upon by many parties, probably including the client whose products you were promoting and demonstrating. If it is not accurate then you could become complicit in a fraud.

The fact that your work day was reduced by one hour is the coordinator's fault. Strictly speaking, you have a complaint against the coordinator for carelessly costing you an hour's income.

In future, you can protect yourself by confirming store or mall operating hours, space available, facilities, etc. as soon as you get the assignment.

You have done nothing wrong by showing up at 10:00 instead of 9:00. No one can expect you to accommodate a schedule change on such short notice.

Whether you are an employee or a contractor is a matter of employment law and depends on actual facts such as who pays which payroll taxes, who provides your workspace and similar facilities, whether and which benefits are provided, and similar. It is not something that your agency can arbitrarily decide.

  • 1
    I'm not sure this covers all aspects of the situation. For example if someone is in the work place and gets sent home early because for example the power went out, then they would likely still get paid. Once I had a task where I needed access to an account but the administrator was not in and I was sent home without fault because there was nothing I could do about it.
    – user62196
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 22:27

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