I am working from home(Turkey) and the company I am working is based in Switzerland. I am not an employee of this company. I think this is called free-lance working, I am not sure. We do not have any kind of official contract and they do not provide me anything besides the hourly wage I make, however we talked that I should be able to work 40 hours a week at least, which means I can not just find a full time job here and work in the evenings for 3 - 4 hours a day.
The work goes like this: I work for an amount of hours everyday. I do the tasks assigned to me, as well as because I am responsible of quality and testing of the software product(s) they have, I have a constant responsibility which is to make sure the product is working well at all times.
But sometimes things will slow down, no development will be done there so the product will be in "stable" position, where testing the same thing over and over again will yield nothing and will be kind of frustrating and a "waste of effort".
However my income solely depends on this work and even if there is not much to do, I sit in front of the computer every morning at 8:00 a.m. and sit at least for 6 - 8 hours and "be available" for them, even if I do not "really" do some work.
At the end of the month I am supposed to report how many hours I have "worked" and what I have worked on, and depending on the hours they pay me.
For example, today I did not have much to do. All I did was to reply to 3 - 4 emails, test 2 issues that were fixed and fix 2 export templates that some customer uses. (Minor fixes in the layout etc..) I did some my usual, routine testing on the software as well but did not find any bugs or etc..
What am I supposed to do if this goes on for like a week or two? Do I still bill them for 6 hours a day? On one hand I think it is not fair to bill them because I am home and not really doing anything. However, on the other hand, I am not doing anything because there is really nothing to do. And I do not just go do my personal stuff like taking the car to the shop or going to the bank or going to doctors appointments etc. I am home 'available' for them, sitting right in front of the computer. I am testing the same things over and over again but I sometimes already know nothing is broken.
Or is this the nature of this way of working, and should I just think like "well today was a bad day, no work to do" and not bill them at all, and if keeps going like this find a new job? I know they are happy with the work I am doing, when there is something to do so I am not sure if quitting is a solution for either for the sides.
I do not if this makes any difference I can say that the hourly wage I am getting is an amount that the company would pay an unqualified employee in Switzerland, but it is still a good amount for my country because of the Euro / Turkish Lira rate. So if they would hire someone to do the same job in Switzerland, they would probably be required to pay double what they were paying me. They do not provide me an office space, any food, any insurance or taxes etc, so having a remote employee is a win for them, and it is a win for me because I get to work from home and get paid well considering my countries situation, as long as there is work to do(?)
So do I bill the slow days or not?