What is a “timely manner” specified as?

I work for a company that owes me my paychecks for the last 6 or so weeks. My contract states they must pay us in a “timely manner”. What is a timely manner specified as? They expect us to pay for everything we have to do for our jobs and then bill them but they don’t reimburse us in a good enough time to afford it. I’m an independent contractor and they treat us like employees. We have a business email account and they tell us we have to text them to let them know when we are at work and then when we leave. As far as I’m concerned that is an employer-employee relationship. So what do I do about my situation?

Asked on June 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no legal definition of "timely." (In the future, make sure any periods of time are precisely defined in contacts.)

In the event of a dispute or litigation, what is timely would be determined with reference to the context--how quickly is payment made in your industry for contractors like yourself, for example?

A more important--and definable issue--is, as you allude, whether you are in fact an employee, not a contractor. If you are an employee, you would have to be paid biweekly or semi-monthly, I believe; the employer would have to pay the employer share of FICA for you; you may be entitled to benefits and may be eligible for unemployment if terminated. It does not matter that you have a contract, how you've been paid, or what the employer wants to call or consider you--all that matters is the reality of the relationship between you and the employer. You can find the test for when one is (or is not) an independent contractor at the U.S. Department of Labor website; you should apply it to your job and how you work with this employer. If you appear to actually be an employee not a contractor, you should speak with an employment law attorney to evaluate your options and recourse.


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