This is a contracted job to cover a maternity leave. The contract states 30 hours a week maximum at at a certain rate, anything over would be actually a lesser hourly rate, and even so, they will only pay me a maximum amount each month, period (when doing the math, that means 32 hours a week is the "true" maximum if I have permission to go over). We established Monday to Thursday as my working days.

Clearly, they underestimated the hours needed to cover, as I'm getting constant emails and work on evening and weekends. Friday, my supposed day off, always has a mess of items that come in and need to be done, and "urgent" emails that need to be answered. By Thursday I was already at 30 hours, and the work I've done since is clearly way over even the couple of hours extension. They have also asked me to attend events on weekends which I cannot do and was not brought up prior to working with them.

I am covering for pretty much a co-owner of the company. When I was hired, I was told it would be handling the day to day but "it's not like other agencies where you are working nights and weekends" and "with 4 days a week it'll be an easy summer." In general, its been a highly stressful gig compared to how it was explained prior.

My time is money and they are clearly not going to pay me for all the extra time. I need to push back but of course, there's an inherent guilt in that this woman is about to have a baby next week. However, this contract is for 4 months, and I have scheduled my own personal client work and just personal needs for my Friday to Sundays, and I cannot continue to work for this company beyond the contract (nor should I). The whole reason I agreed to it was that it was giving me the flexibility to still be able to work on my own clients on Fridays. I don't want to leave and screw them over, I just want to get things straightened out.

I am trying to find the right words to politely express this without coming off in the wrong way.


1 Answer 1


Just because you receive an email in the evening or on a weekend, that does not mean you need to attend to it at that time. If you do, then that's kind of your fault.

See here: A bad client who pays a lot - should money or attitude prevail?

Ultimately it's up to you to adhere to the contract as much as it is up to them. If the contract states 32 hrs max, then that's what I would work. Although a contract that pays less for more hours seems like a bad contract to agree to in the first place.

If they complain you aren't "working enough" point to the contract.... Remember you don't owe them anything. They are paying for services. If they can't or won't pay more, then you need to limit your working to what has been agreed upon, regardless of wether everything gets done or not.

"I can't get that done this week. We have already reached the contract maximum of 30 hours."

  • I can agree on your first point. I often am a "yes" person and too nice, and i get anxious if im not on top of things. It also doesn't help this woman is still on email, and texting me, and admits she doesnt know how to "not work" and she'll be "bored on maternity leave" so i feel like she'll be constantly over my shoulder.
    – MeMe12
    May 6, 2018 at 15:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.