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I work for a company that sends me to different stores to give out samples. The pay is by hour. I used to do it for the money, now that I have a full time job I just do it because the work is enjoyable. However, it feels that I'm being paid unfairly. I suspect they know what they're doing is not legal. First, they consider me a contractor for no apparent reason. I don't submit an invoice and I don't have a contract. I guess they are doing this to get out of doing tax. Second, there are various parts of the job I am not paid for. This includes writing reports from home and the time taken for setup and take down etc. When I brought this to managements attention they said these tasks shouldn't take long, though I don't think they know how long it really takes. Especially if they're getting me to make corrections to the reports on days I'm not supposed to be working, I don't see how they can consider it fair not to pay for this time (mistakes and typos do happen though normally an employer is expected to pay for the time to fix them). Management has said there's no chance of promotion or pay raise.

I like the work and am good at it (according to management). Though it feels unethical not to get paid for all the time doing it. What are my options? I don't need the money from this job anymore, so I am able to lose it if I report them for non-payment. I feel like if I'm going to quit anyway it would be the right thing to do to report them for non-payment. If it makes a difference there are many other people with the same position as me.

Just for example sake, if they get me to pickup flowers from the store to make the display look nice, how much time should this cost? They seem to argue I'd be going to the store anyway so they don't have to pay for this work.

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    Regardless of whatever you choose to do, you need to start keeping paper records for all work that you conduct. All time that you spend. Start keeping your own logging. That is the absolute bare minimum. May 8, 2023 at 2:11
  • So what do you get paid for? What does your contract say? Do you get paid for hours worked? Do you get paid for the end result?
    – nvoigt
    May 8, 2023 at 8:04
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    If you are doing something because you enjoy it and not being paid for it, you are neither an employee nor a contractor. You are a volunteer.
    – Theodore
    May 8, 2023 at 18:28

4 Answers 4

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If they say you are a contractor, get them to confirm in writing that you are a contractor... Then start acting like a contractor.

Bill them in 15 minute increments your hourly rate (not their hourly rate) - want me to open my laptop to adjust a report? ding Timer starts, minimum 15 minute charge.

Then, submit your invoice.

I suspect that very quickly the conversation will change.

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  • Not every contract bills by the hour, or quarter hour. Some are billed a set amount per week for a set amount of work. May 8, 2023 at 2:10
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    @GregoryCurrie True but these contractors also tell you their rate for a set amount of work and then negotiate which doesn't seem to be OPs case right now.
    – quarague
    May 8, 2023 at 9:05
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    @quarague The OPs situation appears to be that they are not a contractor at all. May 8, 2023 at 9:38
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    @GregoryCurrie If the contractor pay was set to be weekly/monthly/whateverly then that would be in the contract. No contract means the contractor doesn't actually work for them. But since he is doing work anyway with no contract the hourly rates would be the most appropriate imo May 8, 2023 at 11:53
  • @TheEvilMetal The lack of written contract doesn't mean you can invent a contract for the most favourable terms. May 9, 2023 at 0:02
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What are my options?

  • Continue to work as is
  • Quit and find a job doing something similar with a different employer
  • Keep complaining and see if anything changes
  • Bring an action against your employer with the Department of Labor
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I would urge you to seek personal tax advice.

The situation you described looks bad, at least from the tax point of view, not to mention the work relations

Every income should be reported and taxed, if its not them, it is you.

How were you paid? Cash, eTransfer, cheque Did you have an invoice, receipt, paystub with the amounts received?

As to the work relation, imho, you should send a letter / email with receipt confirmation outlining your services, hourly rate and a contract draft.

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    The author is likely responsible for reporting their income, and the taxes associated from that income, regardless of the actions of the company. So I agree they should seek information to determine what their personal tax liability might be connected to this income. If they are considered a contractor, the author not the company, is likely responsible to submit all required documents to the government.
    – Donald
    May 8, 2023 at 16:10
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    @Donald This is why in my opinion, taxes are the first and foremost takeaway from this issue. Anything else, is just not to be a pushover and stand up for yourself ;) all of us had to do it at some point
    – Strader
    May 8, 2023 at 16:51
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Only you can decide how much imposition is too much, or how much refusal is likely to cost you the job and whether taking a stand is worth that cost. Before quitting, tell management you're feeling imposed upon and see if they'll roll it back or make it worth your while.

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