contract jobs


I was offered a position with a small firm. When they sent me the employment agreement to sign, it stated that the position was contractual. During the interview, the owner said it was a part-time to full-time position. It would be part-time for 3 months and then would turn to full-time. Does anyone here have experience with working contractually? I was only going to take this job because he said it would be full-time after 3 months, but the contract doesn't state that. My gut says to pass on it. Any suggestions? Thanks

Mar 12, 19 10:06 pm

What exactly do they mean by "contractual"?  If you mean you'll be an independent contractor, that's generally illegal - usually firms try that because they want to avoid paying into unemployment and worker's comp, and to avoid the employer's share of social security.  But if you're working on their premises, using their equipment, don't have full control of your own schedule and deadlines, etc. then they can't legally classify you as an independent contractor.  If you decide to participate in that anyway, you should be aware that you'll be 1099'd, meaning you'll owe self-employment taxes - so make sure your hourly rate is high enough to compensate for that. 

In the current market there are tons of architecture jobs and I don't see why you'd agree to this arrangement.  Hold out for an employer who won't do sleazy things to cut corners.

If you just meant that the employer wants you to sign an employment contract for 3 months - but that you'll be an employee - that's a little unusual but at least it's legal.  Most architecture firms in the US avoid employment contracts, because in most states employment is "at will", meaning you can be let go for any reason (or no reason) at any time.  If there were no contract at all then they could decide in a week that they don't like you and let you go. If you have a contract in which they agree to keep you for 3 months (barring gross misconduct) then at least you're guaranteed 3 months. As for whether the job will really be full time after 3 months:  it doesn't sound like that's guaranteed. Then again, it won't be guaranteed anywhere else either...  I believe in trusting one's gut.  If it's telling you not to do it, and if you can afford to hold out while you keep looking for a better option, then don't do it.

Mar 13, 19 12:39 am

Thank you Kjdt! I appreciate the input. I really liked the owner, but this does seem shady, so I will pass on it. Luckily, I have 2 interviews today! Hopefully, something will come from one of those. Thanks, again.

Mar 13, 19 4:19 am

You could try asking the employer to clarify the agreement by adding language indicating that the job becomes full-time after 3 months.

It is common practice to treat new hires as temporary positions for the first 90 days.   It gives the employer an easier way to terminate people who presented well in the interview but fail to perform in the job.

Your guy may be trying to do the same thing, but is declaring you a "contractor" rather than holding a "temporary position".  He/she probably doesn't understand the difference.  As others have posted above, your job probably does not meet the federal definition for contract work.  Architects often have a very poor understanding of proper HR procedures and terms.

Mar 13, 19 12:04 pm

And, if a firm is crappy when it comes to HR, they are usually crappy in a lot of other aspects of practice as well.

Mar 13, 19 12:07 pm

Trust your gut here.

Mar 14, 19 2:58 am

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