Timesheets Dilemma for UK Contractor.
Dear Doctor McLaughlin,
I have a timesheets dilemma this month and the client, as usual, is treating me like dirt.
I resigned my contract in the middle of last month and spent some time on the job boards. Within a couple of weeks I had an interview. It was followed up with an offer almost immediately.
The agent I was working though flatly refused to submit my CV when I started looking on the ill-considered basis that I had let him down. He said I “would never get a job with our client again after I resigned”.
I had resigned because after delivering the goods six-weeks early I wanted to free myself up to look for the next job now, rather than scratching my a**e until the end of the year. Trying to find something in the slow month of January is difficult. It is never the best month to be looking.
Contract with Same Client
The new contract is with the same client. My new desk is ten metres away from my old desk. Part of my new duties are to support a system I co-designed for them on the last contract.
The money’s the same as well. In fact the only things that have changed are that I now have a new contract (not an extension) with a new end-date. Of course, I have a new agency.
This gives me a timesheets dilemma. I now have to submit timesheets for this month to two different agencies. However, the client’s time recording software does not cater for the situation where an IT contractor has dumped his or her agent.
This means that when I print the timesheet it contains the details of the whole month.
I would prefer neither of the agents to have any information about projects that do not concern them. That is unless I, and I alone, choose to give it to them.
I must admit that I did enjoy the gutted look on the last agent’s face when I told him I’d got the contract through one of his rivals.
HR at the client is treating me in a manner whereby I now have to either submit child-like scribbled invoices, or give out confidential business information (project-codes, hours billed, line-managers names etc) to agents. They, in general, are neither mature nor professional enough to ensure discretion.
What to Do about Timesheets Dilemma?
So what should I do with this timesheets dilemma?
Should I go to HR and demand they provide me with the means to submit invoices to third-parties in a discrete, enforceable and business-like manner?
Or should I do as one of the line managers suggested and just print out two timesheets and adjust the number of hours being billed on each with a crayon?
Obviously the ideal solution would be to bill both agents for the full amount with the almost certain probability that the loafers in payroll will just cough up with whatever hours have been signed off?
What do you think?
Dr. McLaughlin on the Timesheets Dilemma
First of all, you don’t really think that I’m going to advise on a public internet site that you submit two invoices for the full amounts to the two separate agencies do you?
Maybe if you just sent them both a copy of the timesheet for the month, and they paid on that, you could argue that it was their mistake and that you didn’t spot it.
However, if you actually knock up two separate invoices for the full amount you would have committed fraud.
Also there would be a damn good chance that you would get caught. There are three separate parties involved here, HR and the two different agencies. There would also be the Accounts department as well.
You stand to lose far more than you would gain. You would potentially lose multiple months’ money to gain just one free month’s money.
Also, as fraud is a serious crime you could also spend some time in prison.
What’s the Problem
What I don’t understand is why you are so fearful of giving the two agencies the information?
What does it matter to you?
So, what could they do with this information that could harm you?
You say HR is treating you in a way ‘whereby I now have to either submit child-like scribbled invoices’.
What’s wrong with giving them hand written invoices if that is what they are after? What’s childlike about that. It would solve your timesheets dilemma.
It’s a good suggestion as well by your line manager that you print out the two timesheets and alter them both manually.
You could also go to HR and ask them to consider you as two separate persons, e.g. Billy Doyle and Billy Doyle 2, so that the timesheets are processed separately. That might solve your timesheets dilemma.
No Real Problem
I don’t think that you have any real problem here. There are multiple solutions most of which you already know.
Pick the one you want and get on with it.
If anyone else has a timesheets dilemma or other dilemma, please send it in to Dr. McLaughlin