I've recently run into a dispute for an invoice with a company for whom I'm doing IT contract work about the number of hours in a work day. We agreed on a rate of £N a day, which I had assumed to mean N/7.5 as an hourly rate. However, they have recently said that "everyone contracting here assumes an 8-hour day". The contract that I signed doesn't state either way which one is correct. However, if I adjust said invoice to assume an 8 hour day, I will lose 6.25% of my revenue (assuming my maths is correct).

Without this being specified in the contract (or verbally at any point before today), is it legally acceptable to state that 7.5 hours is the standard amount and that I should bill as such, and what can I do about resolving this issue?

Also what should be done about going into the future with this work and asking for a revised contract? Can I request 6.25% to be added on to my day rate, or ask to be billed on a 7.5 hour basis, and have that stand up against their legal team if push came to shove?

I am invoicing on an hourly basis rather than by half-day/day, and have done many hours of overtime.

Thanks in advance for any help.

  • Is the standard work day in the UK 7.5 hours? I know in the US the standard work day is 8 hours.
    – sharur
    Jan 23, 2018 at 0:17
  • Why are you invoicing on an hourly basis if the if the contract specifies £N a day? Just invoice on a daily basis.
    – Greendrake
    Jan 23, 2018 at 1:04
  • @Greendrake Because of the sheer amount of overtime I do into evenings and weekends, we've basically all been working at 150% capacity to get a product released Jan 23, 2018 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


is it legally acceptable to state that 7.5 hours is the standard amount


Because you are a contractor not employee, there is no "standard" to refer to. You are only entitled to what your contract provides for, that is £N per day no matter how much time you worked. That said, if there is no word "overtime" in the contract, you cannot use one to justify how much you charge. You can, though, charge for weekend days (unless the contract explicitly prohibits working on weekends).

what should be done about going into the future with this work and asking for a revised contract?

1) Learn the lesson; 2) Make up your mind about what you want to be paid for: hours, days or output; 3) Discuss/negotiate contract terms with your clients.


If you are a contractor then how many hours in a day is whatever is needed to provide the services you have been contracted to provide, be that 20 minutes or 20 hours.

If, as seems likely, this is a sham contract, then you are an employee and entitled to be paid in accordance with the relevant employment terms.

  • Contractor in the sense of IT software contracting. It's rolling. It's not a sham contract and is not disguised employment. I have my own limited company the work goes through and do a few months at a company before moving on elsewhere. Jan 23, 2018 at 11:24
  • Can you decide what hours you work? When? Where? Can you pay someone else to do it? Are you paid on output (not days)? If your code has bugs, do you fix it at your cost? Do you work for several clients at the same time (not sequentially)? Do you own the IP in your code? Does your company have more employees than owners? If the answer to most of these is “no”, you are probably an employee for employment law even if you aren’t for tax law. Having an interposed Ltd doesn’t make you a contractor if you aren’t one.
    – Dale M
    Jan 23, 2018 at 11:54
  • In answer to your questions: Yes, yes, yes, yes, no, normally not, yes sometimes, no, equal. Jan 23, 2018 at 12:01
  • Could go either way then
    – Dale M
    Jan 23, 2018 at 12:02

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