International Contractors

Contractor Overtime: How to Sort Overtime for a Remote Contractor

October 9, 2023

The beauty of remote work is that it enables startups and small businesses to source talent from all over the world without the costs of opening offices or legal entities in other countries. 

That said, hiring international contractors has its complexities, especially if you’re working with multiple contractors across different countries and jurisdictions. You have to ensure that your relationship with the contractor is properly classified, as misclassification often carries hefty fines and penalties. 

The laws that govern contractors are those of the country in which the contractor lives. Some of the countries with the highest numbers of digital nomads and remote workers include:

While paying independent contractors is its own process (and here’s more information about how to do it), you might be wondering whether your contractors are entitled to overtime pay. If you’re looking to hire contractors in any of the five countries listed above, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the laws around overtime pay for contractors.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into what the law says about overtime pay for contractors in Canada, the UK, Germany, the Philippines, and India. 

Overtime Pay for Independent Contractors: What the Law Says

Before we dive into the laws governing independent contractor overtime pay, let’s revisit the difference between a contractor and an employee. 

An independent contractor is someone whom your company hires to carry out a specific project or deliverable. Usually, this is a short-term engagement, and the contractor does not receive benefits such as paid time off or pension plan payments. 

If you’re regularly working with the same contractor(s) for ongoing projects, you may be at risk of misclassification since they could be entitled to employee status. For example, the UK introduced the IR35 tax law to prevent tax avoidance by contractors who work through limited or personal services companies. Contractors who work similar to regular employees are required to pay the same income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

Check the employment laws in the country your contractor lives in to understand whether they should be classified as an employee. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the laws governing contractor overtime pay in Canada, the UK, Germany, the Philippines, and India. 


  • Independent contractors in Canada are not covered by employment standards legislation, which means they do not have statutory rights to overtime pay.
  • Their compensation, including any overtime pay, is determined by the terms of their contract.


  • The UK does not have specific laws governing overtime pay for independent contractors.
  • Independent contractors negotiate their own terms and conditions, including pay rates, with their clients.
  • They are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage.


  • Employees in Germany can be required to perform overtime work only if there is a provision in the employment agreement or in a collective bargaining agreement giving the employer that right.
  • Overtime pay is not required or regulated by statutory law. It is possible to have overtime work included in monthly wages.
  • Overtime needs only to be compensated if it occurs regularly and is necessary to fulfill the employee’s workload or if the employer requires overtime.
  • Employers are not legally required to pay employees surcharges for work on Sundays, holidays, and at night.


  • Independent contractors, also known as project-based or freelance workers, are not covered by the Labor Code’s provisions on overtime pay.
  • Their pay is typically determined by the terms of their contract or agreement with the hiring party.


  • India does not have specific laws governing overtime pay for independent contractors.
  • Independent contractors negotiate their own terms and conditions with their clients.
  • They are not covered by the labor laws that apply to traditional employees.

What to Keep in Mind when Paying Overtime for Independent Contractors

Still not sure whether you owe your contractors overtime pay? Keep the following things in mind when determining what you need to do. 

  • Contractual agreement: The primary determinant of overtime pay for independent contractors is the agreement or contract between the contractor and the employer. Ensure that the contract clearly outlines the terms related to overtime, including the rate of pay and the definition of overtime hours.
  • Legal regulations: While many countries do not have specific laws governing overtime pay for independent contractors, it’s essential to be aware of any local or national regulations that might apply.
  • Standard hours: Clearly define what constitutes standard working hours and what is considered overtime. This will help avoid any ambiguity or disputes later on.
  • Rate of overtime pay: Decide on the rate for overtime. It could be a fixed rate, a percentage increase over the regular pay, or any other structure agreed upon by both parties.
  • Documentation: Maintain thorough documentation of all hours worked by the contractor, including regular and overtime hours. This will serve as evidence in case of any disagreements or disputes.
  • Communication: Maintain open communication with the contractor. If there are any changes in the project scope or expected hours, discuss potential overtime needs in advance.
  • Invoicing and payment: Ensure that the contractor provides detailed invoices that separate regular hours from overtime hours. This will make the payment process transparent and straightforward.
  • Review periodically: Periodically review the contractor’s hours and the overtime agreement. If the contractor consistently works overtime, it might be more cost-effective to renegotiate the contract or hire additional help.
  • Tax implications: Be aware of any tax implications related to overtime pay. In some jurisdictions, overtime pay might be subject to different tax rates or deductions.
  • Dispute resolution: Include a clause in the contract that outlines the process for resolving any disputes related to overtime pay. This can help avoid costly legal battles in the future.

Manage Overtime for Your Team Compliantly with Remofirst

Managing your remote team’s overtime pay can be a labor-intensive process, especially if you have limited time and resources to ensure compliance and correct classification of employees. 

That’s why many businesses choose to partner with an Employer of Record (EOR) like Remofirst to handle hiring and managing a global workforce in compliance with all local labor laws. We take care of your team — both contractors and employees — no matter where they are. 

To learn more about hiring in the five countries listed above, refer to our detailed country guides.