I've worked for a startup tech company for the past year. It has 4 people. The startup started to run out of funding 3 months ago, and we took on a BtoB consulting gig with a partner company that would pay our 4 salaries exactly. It would take about 60% of our time and allow us flexibility to reconsider a pivot for our original startup in the other time. It kept paychecks coming too.
Around the same time, we came across a side freelance gig that we as a group would do in the off time, each of us a different role for it. It would be paid through the company, though one of us personally found the gig on the side. This was considered a side project to normal high priority work, and to get it done when we could. We're all used to side projects so this meant in the off hours of the work day or at home.
The question I'm asking, is whether it is appropriate for the company to accept all the freelance contract pay or if it is more ethically inclined to split the payment amongst workers in addition to normal salary? We're paying paid salary for one role we do, and the freelance gig is in all ways a side project with some significant hours. We are not a consulting company by nature. The founder has suggested he might use the freelance gig to pay down some of the company debt, some of which he personally seeded. ie, it goes in his pocket to recoup company debt.
Aside from ethics, is it even legal for a company to have employees doing side consulting work beyond the scope of their job role, and not paying them for it? Is there a limit to what is considered within the scope of excempt from overtime, full-time salary?