I was recently contracted to work on a magazine for a non-governmental organisation. The contract was supposed to last 21 days within which I would have finished the magazine. I finished the work ahead of time. However, it is now more than four months and I have not been paid. Can I use the contract to start charging interest given that the terms of payment and the timelines are well stipulated? Nancy
It is always good practice to define the terms of your engagement for any dealings you enter into with employers or organisations that need your services such that you not only protect your interests but also ensure you are accountable for the timely delivery of your commitments.
You have not indicated whether your contract with the NGO provides for charging of interest for late payment as a penalty.
However, if the penalty clause exists, then you should notify the organisation that you are invoking the same clause in the contract and will include the principal and interest sum in the invoice for your services.
If you did not have the penalty clauses in the contract, you should, in writing, again notify the organisation of your intention to charge interest as a penalty for the delayed payment as compensation for the failure of the organisation to keep its side of the bargain, yet you had delivered the magazine before the contracted time.
Depending on the response you get, you can then take up the issue with your lawyers to seek redress in courts of law.
It is, however, always prudent and advisable to clearly define and agree on payment terms and penalties applicable to either party in future contracts you sign with organisations to protect yourself in case of any breach.
Head Human Resource
Monitor Publications Limited