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Contract Job

 
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I have recently got an offer for a contract job of 6 months. The salary is OK and work is also reasonablly exciting. The company is very small (tiny?), much smaller than what I have heard or seen before (abt. 6-7 ppl). What all things one should ensure before signing the contract?
- Manish
 
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First, read the contract carefully. Some things to watch out for are claims that they own work which you do outside the contract, and excessive disclaimers of liability on their part. Having a lawyer review the contract isn't a bad idea.
You use the word "salary." When you're a contractor, you aren't an employee, and the relationship is quite different, even though a lot of companies blur the difference. You have fewer legal protections; if the company goes under, the employees usually come ahead of the creditors (e.g.., you) in their claim on the company's assets. The flip side is that you have more independence. But use this independence to provide the best value to your client, or they might not want to keep you around.
Once the contract starts, watch out for how often you get paid, and keep your own records on how much you should be receiving. It's almost a given that, whatever the contract says, you won't get paid within 30 days of your invoice. But if they start slipping beyond 60 days, you'll need to put pressure on them to pay you.
 
Manish Hatwalne
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You are right about the salary, I will not be paid salary as such but a consultation fees instead. But for all other practical purposes, I am as good as their employee.
This has rather become a common practice here in India; they hire you as a contract worker for a specific duration for a specific project and depending upon your performance and acceptance of the product/project they offer you a more permanent position in the organization. That way they don't have to provide you with all the facilities an employee may enjoy.
As for this specific contract, I won't be having much independence; in fact there will be 6 working days and no holidays. I'll be paid on a specific date and I don't have to raise invoice as such. And if they don't pay me by that date I'll quit.
I'll look out for the clause that says they own the work that I do outside the contract. As of now, I haven't been informed abt any such thing.
- Manish
 
Gary McGath
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Sorry, I hadn't realized you were in India. The advice which I gave is mostly applicable to the US or countries with closely similar bodies of contract law; it may or may not be meaningful under the laws of your country.
 
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The other item or issue to consider when working as or on contract is that many times your programmign wokr is dependent on the company providing certain resources or access to resources to youy..if this is the case such as J2ee programmign it might help protect your rights by having it spelled out in the contract..
 
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