I'm working as an independent contractor and the agreement I signed says my start date is May 12th 2020 and my end date is July 10th 2020.

I'm required to work 200 hours for the company between these two dates.

As I initiate the final goodbyes my employer is saying I have to stay on till July 23rd. Currently, I am at 175 hours of service due to Memorial Day and another short week and the work is part time.

Employer put the wrong date and now my contract is interfering with a vacation I planned around this contract.

Will I be held liable for the remaining 25 hours per the contract?

Out of good faith, I suggested that I would work July 13 to the 16th to help remedy any trouble caused by this contract and still be able to go on my vacation. This would add 20 hours to the total putting it at 195 hours.

My employer said that they would accommodate that and now he seems to be going back on his word and demanding I work till the 23rd.

I did not get acceptance of my offer mentioned as a remedy in writing.

Ideally, I would want a clean break this week because of how my employer is handling this situation but I think the right thing to do would be to stay on for the extra week: July 13- 16th.

My last and least optimal option would be to work one or two days during the July 20th week to meet the 200-hour requirement.

Finally, my questions

  1. Am I liable for the remaining hours?
  2. Or can I take advantage of this contract's end date and end my relationship with this company ASAP?
  • 1
    What you added in this comment is quite relevant, but other crucial information is missing. Is the 200-hour requirement in the contract? The type of work product or job would determine whether or not the 200-hour requirement is material. You did not include the literal terms of the contract, and these might trigger the doctrine of contra proferentem. What does the contract say regarding changes thereto? can you prove the employer promised to accommodate your concern? Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 20:34
  • When you say you were "required" to work 200 hours, what exactly does the contract say? And what does it say will happen if you work less than 200 hours?
    – Just a guy
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 20:44
  • Also, from your comment below, it sounds as if it would have been impossible for you to work 200 hours during the term of the contract. Is that right? Or did your schedule play any role in the shortfall?
    – Just a guy
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


According to your description, you have a contract to work 200 hours, and this must be accomplished between May 12 and July 10. Apparently you are 25 hour short on that obligation, which may mean that you probably will be in breach of contract. I don't see what error there is w.r.t. the date: whatever the contract says, that is what you agreed to.

Perhaps you are wholely responsible for the shortfall of hours, or perhaps the employer bears some responsibility (e.g. making it impossible for you to work). It sounds like the employer is offering you an accommodation so that you can fulfill the hours part of the contract, by extending the termination date. Technically, you also have to do the work by a particular date, but a reasonable delay in performance is standardly allowed under contract law, unless the contract has a "time is of the essence" clause which states that completion by the specific date is essential to the contract. If not, then there is reasonable flexibility in completion. Doing less than you contracted for, on the other hand, is not a standardly-available option.

Pursuant to the comment, it sort of sounds like the employer made it impossible to satisfy the conditions of the contract, and wants to use the end of contract date as a form of hardball to extract additional hours (i.e. "we'll sue you for breach of contract for not having done this by the deadline, unless you agree to work an additional 15 hours"). Hardcore deadlines without a time is of the essence clause don't support a claim for damages in case of minor delay, and even less so when the employer bears responsibility for the delay. Consulting an attorney (bring in the contract and all), in this case, would be a good idea, if they are hinting at a lawsuit if you just walk away 15 hours short, or won't accept your compromise.

  • It's due to their structure that my hours are under the required amount the work is part time and only 4 days a week. So it seems I have to complete the 200-hour requirement, would I be within reason to deny them any additional time outside of the agreement. Because they want me for another 40 hours on top of my 175 hours which puts me outside of the 200 range. Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 19:22

Contractors don't have employers; they have principals

You say you're a contractor, if so:

  • Can you employ someone else to do the work on your behalf?

  • Are you paid for what you produce and not on the hours you work?

  • Do you provide your own tools and equipment?

  • Do you run a commercial risk; that is, can you make a profit or loss on this contract?

  • Do you control when, where and how you do the work?

  • Can you work for other principals at the same time?

If the answer to most of the above questions is not a resounding "yes" then while you call yourself a contractor, you are actually an employee.

If you are an employee you are governed by a very different set of laws than a contractor is including such things as notice periods and a right to resign.

You really need to establish if you are a contractor or an employee.

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