No pay for late time sheets?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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No pay for late time sheets?

I work internationally for an American-based company I am an American citizen and pay American taxes teaching languages to expats on a contract/freelance basis. In order to be paid, I am required to submit monthly timesheets including hours worked and my students’ signatures. I have been working with students consistently and my sheets are accurately filled out, however, due to the tediousness of turning in the paperwork I need to scan and send it in, and I do not have reliable access to a scanner I am now several months behind in turing in the paperwork. I have been in contact with the company and they are well aware that I have been working regularly with my students despite the gap in registered hours. Now, I am learning that I am at risk of not being paid many most of the many hours worked at because I am submitting the paperwork after a 30-day

Asked on October 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you were an employee, forfeiture of pay would be illegal. But if you are truly an independent contractor, which you indicate you are and likely are if you self-direct your own work while working remotely, it would be legal to forfeit pay IF the terms (even oral or unwritten) terms between you and the company were that the timesheets must be turned in within a certain time period or you would lose the pay for the work on that sheet. Independent contractors are not employees and have far less rights and protections. The relationship between contractor and company employing his/her services is, as the term implies, "contractual"--is is whatever the two parties agree to.
However, the key is that it must be *agreed* to. Agreement can be implicit: if you do the work in knowledge of a term or condition, you agreed to it. But at a minimum, you *must* know of a policy to have agreed to it. So if you were aware that they had a policy that timesheets must be submitted within 30 days, then by failure to do so, you have forfeited the time. If you were not aware of such policy before (though you are now, so it can be enforced against you going forward), you should have to pay you for the time, and you could sue with a reasonable chance of success if they do not.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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