Freelancers/Recruiters: What are your rights when a contract gets cut short or there isn't enough work?

I booked a job this week for 3 days design work Tues — Thurs. The agency only had enough work for me for a few hours yesterday. I contacted the recruiter today and she said I'd *ideally* have to charge only for the hours worked.

From my POV, I thought I would be earning X amount of money and then its been cut down because the client didn't have enough work for me. My understanding originally was that I'd be charged the day rate regardless, so its a bit of a blow to be paid less because someone else has been disorganised.

Does anyone know if freelancers have any rights in this area? Or of what I can do in the future to prevent this happening?



  • Hi Rebecca,

    If they booked you in for the day then they should pay for the day. Even in freelancing there is a 24 hrs cancellation rule and so if they didn't cancel your booking before the day you do have the right to charge for the full day as you been available it's they responsibility if they didn't give you work. Btw this should be highlighted in first place in your contract with the recruitment company. Hope it helps.

    Feel free to check out my work on
  • A good set of T's and C's have got me out of trouble on a number of occasions - a key clause/section that people miss is that any license to your IP (your work) falls/ceases/ends if a client goes into administration, becomes bankrupt, calls in the receivers etc.

    That way your work and all rights revert back to you - that way the administrator does not get the licence to your work as part of the process. Most administrators don't know this either - if you have not been paid they have to pay you if they want to continue using your work. If you have been paid (technically) anyone wanting to use your work has to pay for it again, or at least get your permission to continue using it. If they have the licence to use your work as part of the administration you have nothing.
  • @Gavin Kemp I'll definitely look into getting my own set of Ts & Cs going forward, thanks for the advice Gavin!
  • As you are running a business you should have a set of Terms and Conditions of Sale (T's and C's) in which you should have already defined all this and that you usually work against. In reality if you haven't got any T's and C's you have been booked against the Agency's T's and C's, if they got difficult about it depending on what they say you woud not have a prayer.

    The e-mail is at least vaguely contractual provided thats what the Agency have said to them. The recruiter is acting as an agent and I doubt if they have any liabilty based on what you have said.

    If you don't have a set of T's and C's you need to get some that are drawn up by a lawyer - if you have a trade association they may have a standard set available for their member to adopt and use. These become your default trading terms and you can base any contract on these, or refer back to them as your standard terms where contracts don't exist. It's a touch more complex than this so you do still need to research it.
  • Hi @AshleyPaulBell and @KatyMawhood I haven't signed any mutual agreement or contract, but there is an email detailing the assignment. The reply I got from the recruiter once raising this concern was:

    "Yes a day rate is what you would be paid for, but if you only worked half a day normally we would just charge the client for that, but if they kept you on standby then we can speak to them and see if you can be paid the full day."

    Hoping that I'll qualify for 'standby'! Thanks for your support :-)
  • Hi Rebecca,

    Personally I believe it is down to the recruitment company as they're technically the middle man and should be prepared for these types of scenarios. Had you signed any mutual agreement?

    I had a similar thing happen to me, but thankfully the recruitment company paid me for the full days, which I was grateful for.

    When I work directly with a client I set up an initial contract agreement before any work commences especially if it's a long duration.

  • Hey Rebecca. It really sucks to hear about this. The recruiter should really own this, rather than expecting you to take the hit.

    Keeping up relations is a tricky thing – it sounds like they're hoping you won't charge as a goodwill gesture towards their finding you future work. But, you can push back more easily if you can relate back to the terms of the contract. Did you sign anything with them?

    Really hope this gets sorted with a solution that works for you.

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