I am a contracted software developer in the United States.

My contract will expire in about 5 months. Are they able to renew it without my consent?

I ask this because I am not familiar with the contracting process.

  • 3
    Read your contract that you both signed. That's what they can do. Renewal would be covered in it. Typically (at least in my experience), contracts are automatically extended on a monthly basis if a new explicit contract is not signed, That too would be covered in your contract.
    – Chris E
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 16:59
  • Was unaware there could be a such thing as an automatic renewal clause. Thanks I'll ask for a copy and take a look
    – KirynDawn
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:03
  • 3
    @KirynDawn it's kind of like a lease that you have for a year but when it expires it goes month-to-month. Automatic renewals have always been a month-to-month thing in my experience because they allow you to keep working until a new formal contract is signed. When I've not had the month-to-month extension clause I've been forced to stop working until a new contract was signed. There are advantages to both ways. I can't stress enough that you read your contract thoroughly.
    – Chris E
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


Does the contract have a clause which says anything about automatic contract renewal? When it doesn't, the contract is over when it is expired and you both need to explicitly agree to a new contract.

Now what if the contract ends, you both act as if it hadn't (you keep working, they keep paying) and then get into a dispute after a while? I (as a legal layman) could imagine that a court of law might rule that you both implicitly agreed to a contract extension through your behavior. But that depends on a lot of factors (ask a lawyer for details).

Working with no contract is an ugly situation for everyone involved, so you should better sort out your working arrangement before the contract ends.


I've been a contractor in the software field off and on for about 15 years. Typically when my contract is coming to the end date (usually about a month before that), I will get a call from the agency I'm working through with one of 3 different possibilities:

  1. The customer just called and they have extended your contract X months (usually 3 or 6 month increments). I don't usually have to do anything, the customer and my agency manage the extension without me.
  2. The customer just called and they are NOT going to extend your contract.
  3. The customer likes you and could like to bring you in as an employee.

I've had all three calls at different places.

This may not apply if you are working independently as a 1099 employee (in the US) and not through an agency.

  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings sure, but why do you suppose that that is relevant to mention? The OP question is about if a contract can be extended, this answer notes that it can, but that you would have to agree to it
    – bharal
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:07
  • @Bharal The question was changed since this answer was put up Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:30
  • Or the fourth option: The customer and agency have forgotten that your contract expires. I usually remind the agency about 7 weeks from expiry that in the last month of the contract, I will be actively seeking the next contract - unless a written extension is signed. Statements of intent are nice, but insufficient.
    – morsor
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 6:34

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