Professionals work out a price for a project, agree to the terms and then an organization renegotiates and offers less or keeps adding to the scope of the project without adding to the payment. Organizations offer what they call “standard” fees when they actually pay different fees depending on the speaker, sometimes offering less, often if the professional is a woman. Educators and consultants finish presenting and are told, “We don’t cut checks for five weeks after the conference/lecture/weekend.” Really? Should this young rabbi have waited five weeks to give the talk?
Organizations often negotiate fees as if in a shuk. It is undignified and unprofessional. If you have to “remind” organizations to pay multiple times, it is embarrassing and disrespectful. A young woman shared that she felt so uncomfortable about this that she was willing to go without payment just to make the bad feeling go away. This, too, is a form of oppression.
We have to learn to take the sting out of conversations about money. The one who hires must bring up payment right away and create uniformity and consistency around payment policies. Payment should be rendered upon completion of services, not weeks or months later. Forget manning-up. It’s time to mensch-up.
Erica Brown, “Pay Today”, The Jewish Week (3 January 2014), 46.