Five months ago, Dan's present
employer paid him a nice fat signing bonus to entice him to join the
company. Although it seemed like a great opportunity at the time, it was a
big mistake. The
job has turned out to be a bore. He isn't challenged, his boss is
incompetent, and he doesn't like his coworkers.
A couple weeks ago, a friend set
him up with an interview for a position that seems like a great fit. The
company offered him the job, and Dan is ready to move-but, there's that
problem of the signing bonus. Dan wondered if he would have to repay it.
Unfortunately for Dan, the answer is probably so. It depends on the terms
agreed to, but generally items an employer gives to attract a new employee,
including signing bonuses, moving allowances and relocation bonuses, are
contingent upon staying with the company for a given period of time.
When Dan checked the agreement,
he saw that he had agreed to stay for a year. Fortunately, Dan does have
another option other than staying for the full year or repaying the bonus
himself. When he negotiates with his new employer, he could explain the
situation and request that they pay all or part of the bonus to reimburse
him for the cost of accepting their offer.
how badly the new company wants Dan, they may agree. If, instead of
quitting, you get fired, than there's no obligation to pay back a signing
bonus or relocation, etc., It's important to read any agreements about that
type of thing. Because it's the beginning of what each of you hopes will be
a dream job, looking at quitting or being fired is not very exciting, but
that's the time, not later, that you want to get it straight. Use a lawyer
and negotiate now for favorable terms, not later.