No pay for late time sheets?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.


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