An interesting subject came up on one of the MT boards this week. (I'm not going to give them a link back, because they don't allow links to other MT sites on their site.)
The MT posting the topic said she's an independent contractor for an MT service company and was recently notified that if the hospital account she works on goes out of TAT, there is a 15% penalty – so the MTSO is passing that penalty onto the MT contractors.
Whether you're working as an employee or an independent contractor, I have news for you, so MTs – sit up and take notice.
The contractual agreements between an MTSO and client, including penalties for failing to meet turnaround, aren't your problem, whether you're an employee or an independent contractor. Unless, of course, you're the employee responsible for staffing, scheduling and making sure the account stays in turnaround. If you're an MT (employee or IC) who is just putting in your lines – not your problem.
And MTSOs – here's a news flash. If you agree to a TAT penalty, it's your responsibility to meet it – not the MTs who are doing the work. It simply isn't the responsibility of your contractors or employees to make sure you are meeting the contractual obligations agreed upon between your business and your client.
In my opinion, it's just shameful for a business to attempt to pass contractual penalties along to the MTs doing the work.
Let's understand something – being an independent contractor isn't the same as being a chump. Your IC business may accept TAT penalties from your clients, but they're agreed upon in advance and you would only agree to them if you have full responsibility – and control – for the entire account. If you're one of five MTs contracting with a client (because maybe they don't want to work with a unified service), you would never agree to a contractual penalty for TAT because you have no control over what the other four MTs working on the account are doing. Working on an account for an MTSO as an IC is no different – you have no control over their staffing, their management, their operations management, their workflow process or the other MTs. Why in the world would you accept a penalty because they're not meeting their contractual TAT?
The post I'm referring to also makes a reference that this is how you treat employees, not ICs. Another news flash – you don't treat employees like this, either. Would you, as an employee, agree to a policy that makes YOU responsible for the overall TAT of the account? It's the same story – whether you're a contractor or an employee, you don't control the management of the entire account.
Here's a clue: the people who control the management of the account are the ones responsible. And they should take that responsibility, not pass the buck on to the people who don't control the process. And it doesn't matter whether those people are employees or independent contractors.
My advice to this MT is to write a letter to management, pointing out that contractual obligations are being met by the independent contractor and that any attempt to reduce payments will result in suspension or termination of services. Then start looking for another contract.