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I work in a company that employs people all around the world (remotely). Since it does not have bases in particular countries, their employees are essentially contractors that renegotiate the contracts when needed. They call us employees, despite the fact that our situation is a bit different. The renegotiation is therefore not really meant to be renegotiation, but just automatic extension, because we are supposedly employed there full time.

For my contract I planned to renegotiate yearly (due to local laws on contractors). However, at the beginning I signed a 6 month contract and then planned to extend. When the time of extension came, I contacted the leadership and they said that they are busy, but will extend. Weeks passed, nothing happened. They started using stalling tactics and did not sign the contract (I did contact them several times regarding the matter). Meanwhile, they were still paying me according to the old contract. After about two months of this, they redirected new contract to my boss in my department, so he would take over the task of extending the contract. He did and we also had exchanges several times. A month after this, my boss has quit and for his last week in the company he revealed the following:

The leadership does not know what is your next project, so they are not sure if they should extend the contract. He mentioned some budgeting reasons. Also, the company is part of the group of companies and he said I might get an offer in another company in the ecosystem. Also, they seem to be fine with me working without a contract (despite the fact that I am dealing with some of their essential IP).

I am asking what should I think of the situation? Also, what actions I should take for my future that would best suit me. Also, should I consider myself as an employee like everyone (in the team for example, where they do not know about my issue) is treating me right now? What would be the definition of an employee anyway?

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  • An employee is someone who takes orders. A real contractor is someone who is asked to deliver something and delivers it. In the UK, essential part of being a "real" contractor is that you can send someone else to do the work. You don't mention a country - in the UK, you would be an employee, whatever they call you. Especially since they call you an employee.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 31 at 9:26
  • Look for a new job elsewhere with highest priority. If you can't find something quickly enough, hope that you get more work / money from the old company. If you find something new, you leave. If someone is surprised, well, tough for them. BTW. In many countries you will have an "implicit contract". If you turn up for work, and they let you in and do the work, you have an implicit contract for that day, so they have to pay you. That could in theory go on for years. Your implicit contract would be everything your country's laws say.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 31 at 9:31
  • "A real contractor is someone who is asked to deliver something and delivers it." So, I have a project right now and once I deliver it, I am gone. By that logic I am a contractor. It is true I might be getting other tasks in the meanwhile. They call me an employee probably because they think I have a long term contract. Regarding the implicit contract... Surely there are other consequences of having no contract. What about the IP and everything? Mar 31 at 9:38
  • No, you get a contract with the purpose that one thing is delivered to the company. Company wants X, they give you a contract, you do X, contract is over. In between, they don't tell you how to do X. You use your own tools, you can pay someone else to do the work. You are your own business. You have a contact at the company, but not a manager. You don't get paid when you don't work, on the other hand working 120-150 days a year should pay you plenty.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 31 at 12:51
  • Would it make sense to talk about that with any one of my colleagues? I guess they might want to know about this Apr 1 at 12:59

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This sounds like a company that is internally disorganized. Start looking for other work. Don't expect this company to suddenly become organized or responsive.

There is a possibility they may suddenly say they want to keep you. That does happen. But don't expect them to change their fundamental nature.

If you have not yet done so, do make friendly human connections with other people at this firm. Get onto Linked In and make sure you're connected with at least some of your co-workers and your former boss.

You need a robust network of people who know you and have worked with you, who can vouch for you and help you find your next position.

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