If my employer didn’t pay increases per our agreement and now wants me to submit invoices for the lower amount in order to get paid, would this void the agreement terms?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my employer didn’t pay increases per our agreement and now wants me to submit invoices for the lower amount in order to get paid, would this void the agreement terms?

I entered into an independent contractor agreement with a local company. The CEO agreed to the terms via phone and email, and then I was presented with a written agreement to sign, which I did. I started work, and the countersigned copy never came back to me, but the company started paying the base fee against the contract which was submitted by the CFO to accounting. In the agreement, I was to get Xk/month as a base, with a 1k/month increase monthly after the first 60 days. The company never increased my monthly pay after 60 days, so they are in arrears for 10 months of the increased pay. I have a family, and the base has starved me, it’s not enough to pay living expenses of course, so I’m strapped now. Just this week, I was informed the company has changed it’s accounting system and Im now required to submit invoices every 2 weeks for my work before this wasn’t required. I don’t want to submit invoices for the base if thats not what’s been agreed upon I dont want to counter the agreement if me invoicing for the lower number would do so, but I also don’t want to disrupt getting paid now, I need the money and gave up another job opportunity to take this one. Should I just submit the base invoices for now so I continue getting paid, and then deal with the overall issue separately?

Asked on December 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A written contract is enforceable: you are entitled to the amount of money and any raises the contract called for. Whether or not they countersigned is irrelevant: they presented you a contract (i.e. made you an offer) and you accepted it; that offer and acceptance creates an enforceable contract. If the employer won't pay you the contractually required amount, you could sue them for the money, to enforce the contract (you would sue for breach of.contract). While it would clearly be better if you had an attorney, if you can't afford one, you are allowed to act as yiur own attorney (pro se).
Submitting invoices every two weeks rather than less frequently will not affect your rights. To preserve your rights under the contract, invoice for the full amount you are due; you can break it on the invoice into the base amount and any increase, and cite or reference the contract paragraph that supports the increase.
Also, you may actually be an employee, not a contractor. If someone is treated as an employee, then they are sn employee--and may be entitled to having the employer pay the employer portion of medicaid/social security, to overtime, and possibly benefits--regardless of what you are called. To oversimplify, if the employer directs how you do the job, manages you the way employees are managed, and controls your hours and/or location, you may be an employee. If you think this may be the case, speak with department of labor--you may be entitled to additional compensation.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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