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I want to ask a question and want to know what's my legal and ethical responsibility.

Suppose in the contract (remote job), I clearly specified that I would be providing specific services related to one product, let's say I would have to ensure uptime of abcd.com, upgrade it when asked, and maintain the performance. Now let's say that contract also specifies that I have to provide 6hours a day. Now, if the website is functioning properly and there is no demand from the employer to further improve it, what is my responsibility to do in that 6hours? I don't want to tell my employer that I'm free since it would imply there is no need for my services at the moment, or they might be inclined to give me unnecessary tasks.

Is it legal and ethical, that I can do some professional work for my own-self in those hours? or if I can just sleep or watch movies or learn something in that time?

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    Did you write the contract? Or did they write it? If you wrote the contract, I can understand you putting "up to six hours per day", but otherwise, I think you know you're taking advantage of the situation. Feb 21 at 23:57
  • No I didn't write it. They did. I've a kinda popular online service which is tested and improved for few years now. So they asked me for a similar service and I would've to manage it, one thing led to another and they sent me the contract. Feb 22 at 0:05
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    Also, it may be wise to change your username if that's your real name. Horse is out of the barn otherwise
    – nuggethead
    Feb 22 at 0:06
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    If they wrote it then ask them what they mean. Do it in general terms, because what you don't want is for you to be providing the service you said you would and them saying "Yes, but we are not going to pay you because you are not providing six hours". Feb 22 at 1:09
  • @JohnnyBroz, Lesson learned. Write your own contract. Feb 22 at 2:52

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You have a poorly written contract and you best shot would be to amend it. You can specify a deliverable or hours worked but not both (except setting certain limits). This boils down to who carries the risk of work load variability: the employer or you.

If you are hired for 6 hours/week, than the employer needs to provide you with sufficient work and its ok for you to twiddle thumbs if they don't. In this case you also don't need to work for more than 6 hours, even if the website is down.

If you are hired to keep the website up, it's your problem how much time this takes. You quote a lump sum for this service, and how much time your spending on it is your business alone. However, that also means that you are on the hook if the website is down even if you already have worked 10 hours/week on it. You still need to fix it

Think about which one you prefer and suggest a change to your employer. Either change makes it easier for both parties since there is only one thing you need to track (hours or website uptime).

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  • If the contract specifies some number of hours per week this also gives you a much narrower corridor of appropriate payment. You can just compute an hour rate from the lump sum and that rate should be reasonable for someone with OPs qualifications. If they are only paid for website uptime what is an appropriate payment is way more variable. Which option is better depends on the currently agreed on payment.
    – quarague
    Feb 23 at 14:26
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My interpretation would be that 6 hours is average. Say the site was down. Would you walk away after 6 hours, even if it was important for it to be running?

In that situation, surely you would put in a few more hours to get it working. Which also implies that you can effectively take those hours off, later.

If you were only hired for that one site, then you don't need to tell them anything. It means that you were efficient and good at your job. But equally, you should be prepared to put in extra time when it's required.


This is based on real life, where my contract was based on us agreeing that x hours a week should be sufficient to maintain the software and add a few tiny features. When there was no work, they were still paying me to be instantly ready to jump in. Meaning that I couldn't commit to other work. It is like being on call.

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  • I dont understand the downvotes, this does make sense.
    – Or4ng3h4t
    Feb 23 at 9:56
  • It is also based on my experience. The contract was based on what we agreed - that x hours a week on average should suffice. Feb 23 at 13:16

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