Avoiding the Part-Time Employee Fee Reduction Argument

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May 7, 2012

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Jeff Allen offers you a tip about what you should do to ensure you never miss out — or get beat out — of your well-earned fee.

Meet Jeff at the upcoming Fordyce Forum in June. Register now  to become eligible for a free, private, confidential one-on-one consultation with Jeff at the conference. Consultations are limited, and will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, with Jeff arranging the time directly with you.

What Client Says:

“We hired the candidate as a part-time employee.”

How Client Pays:

The most common area of part-time fee avoidance is with senior technical types who are hired for consulting on a project basis. Typical contingency fee schedules slip right past this practice, since they assume full-time employment.

Of course, the full fee is cut in proportion to the reduction in full-time hours. So scour your fee schedule, employer-generated PSA’s (placement service agreements), e-mail boilerplate, invoices, and all other communication to clients.

Watch for any inconsistencies. They create latent (hidden) and patent (obvious) ambiguities (unclear meaning) when the documents are compared. If you prepared the documents or modified one from a client with the ambiguous language, the rule of construction (legal interpretation) requires it to be construed (interpreted) against you.

So be consistent, and clearly state that any compensation received by the candidate for less than 40 hours per week will be “increased to reflect full-time employment for the purposes of computing the fee.”

You’ve removed the ambiguity – and probably doubled the fee due!

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