Software contracting and a dilemma

I’m three months into a six-month programming contract for a company I’ll all ABC. I work from home, and two weeks ago I finished all the work ABC is expecting. To the best of my knowledge, I’m done.

I report to ABC every Tuesday, and my contact is aware that I’ve finished. He recommends occasional tweaks, and usually it only takes an hour to get things working.

Now then, ABC wants to continue keeping me on contract. But I legally owe them 40 hours a week, and there hasn’t been 2 hours of week of work to do.

So, as I come to the end of March, I have a question: Do I charge 40 hours a week or not? If not, should I break the contract (quit) so that I can find a real full-time job?

It depends on how your contract is written really. If they want to keep you on, and are only giving you 2-3 hours of work a week it sounds like they’re okay with the situation and want the comfort of having you available but if you’re concerned a conversation with them would easily clear it up.

ABC, you’ve asked to extend our contract. Currently you’re only giving me 2-3 hours of work a week, and we have two options. I can continue with that and bill you for only the hours I work but I will have to accept another contract and will need to schedule your work around other commitments. If you would prefer I can continue billing you for 40 hours a week and will be available to address your needs immediately. Please let me know which option you prefer.

I should have been more clear. We’re not extending the contract - it’s going to last for three more months. But there just isn’t three months of work to do.

Still, I should get a written message from my contact that he is satisfied with the state of affairs. Hmm…

You see, they gave me a laptop to work with, and I’m kind of paranoid that ABC’s upper management will check to see how long I’ve been logged on per day, and what I’ve been doing.