I am a independent software contractor for a company and have signed a contract stating I must work x number of hours a month from January 1st until July 31st. In the beginning of July, the company told me to suspend all work until further notice and has yet to give me anything to do. I would love to do some work so I can paid, but it is out of my control. Is there anything I can do? Is the company obligated to give me work/compensation?

closed as off-topic by AndreiROM, Justin Cave, gnat, Chris E, IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 18 '16 at 16:49

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  • 6
    My advice is to call up a lawyer and find out. We can't possible know every provision of your contract, or what the employment laws in your contry are. – AndreiROM Jul 16 '16 at 16:57
  • As Andrei says, the answer to this will mostly be dictated by the intent and precise wording of your contract. If I were in your shoes and (after an analysis of the contract) it was not crystal clear to me that employment was an obligation for them through July, then I would not contest that. – Brad Thomas Jul 17 '16 at 16:43

First step is to read your contract.

The usual way is that you agree to work for them at a certain rate, starting at a certain date, and with a suggested end date, and both sides can quit when they like.

Apparently you signed a contract obliging you to work a certain number of hours per month. Meaning you can't just quit if you have a better offer. If they haven't signed anything that forces them to give you work, then what they are doing is completely legit. If that's the case, then you signed a bad contract.

If you don't get a lawyer, they are not going to pay you. If you get a lawyer, he may tell you that according to the contract (a) they don't need to pay you; (b) it is obviously clear that they have to pay you, or (c) that this is unclear and taking them to court could be really expensive. A lawyer will also tell you if there are any traps in your contract that you need to be aware of.

PS. I assume that if you signed to deliver X hours work per month, and they have no obligation to give you X hours worth of jobs, and they don't give you any jobs, then you delivering zero hours wouldn't mean you are in breach of your contract.

  • 1
    "Apparently you signed a contract obliging you to work a certain number of hours per month. [...] If they haven't signed anything that forces them to give you work, then what they are doing is completely legit." Is that correct? It sounds one party to the contract is making it impossible for the other to fulfill its terms. I have no opinion to offer, especially without knowing the details, but I question whether it's "completely legit". – Keith Thompson Jul 16 '16 at 22:54
  • I have read through the contract numerous times and there is nowhere that states they MUST give me work explicitly, which is the misleading part... Only that I must work x number of hours. If it was a longer term I would probably consider getting a lawyer to read through it but at this point it is probably not worth it. I realize that all contracts are different and this answer gives the most logical advice. Thanks – Cortez1138 Jul 18 '16 at 1:55
  • @Cortez1138 If parts of the contract contradict local law, these parts are invalid. It might also be implied that they must provide you with work due to local law. To figure out what that actually does to your contract you'd need the lawyer. You don't need to take any action, it's enough if they tell you what the contract means and you can then tell the company about it if they have a different opinion. If you often do contract work , it's probably a good exercise. Paying a lawyer for 1 hour on a 7 month contract usually isn't cost prohibitive. – Peter Jul 18 '16 at 7:19
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    @KeithThompson - In the United States, I think the legal term is, the contract is frustrated. Since the business simply failed to schedule or request work, I believe the business could be responsible for the contractor's loss. It depends on the country and terms of the contract; but the information is missing from the question. – jww Jul 13 at 1:08

Can the company not give you work?


Can you throw in the contract because you're making nothing out of it?


Can you force them to give you work?


Are there legal ramifications to throwing the contract in the bin and going and making money elsewhere?

Maybe, it depends on the contract, in theory anyway.

Personally if I'm not making money then the contract is worthless to me, I'm not going to pay a lawyer to find that out, they can pay for a lawyer (which to date has only happened to me once, and I laughed in his face and threw his letter in the bin unread and never heard from him again).

As an independent contractor you're shooting yourself in the foot if you allow others to dictate to you, contracts are contracts, as long as they work for you, all good, otherwise it's part of the risks you take working for yourself. You weigh up the pro's and cons and then move forwards with what advances your interests in the long run.

The first thing you need to do is talk to who ever is your point of contact and tell them that it's not working out for you, then you have the information you'll need to move forwards.

  • Down vote because it is far from clear to me how you can deduce that the company has no obligation to provide employment through July. Agreed they may not have "work", but the OP is surely ok with taking payment for no work, so whether there is work or not is not the crux of the issue. – Brad Thomas Jul 17 '16 at 16:47
  • @BradThomas lots of things are unclear, what IS clear though is that the OP is getting NO money. Otherwise I'd agree with you, I'd be happy to sit on my hands so long as I'm getting paid. – Kilisi Jul 18 '16 at 9:03

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