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Old 18.07.2011, 22:07
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Reimbursement of the welcome package

Dear All,

I have a question for you about the reimbursement of the welcome package when terminating a contract during the probation period.

The story is that I started a job and terminated my contract after 2 months for personal reasons. During these two months, I received a number of services (relocation, housing, language training and spouse support). For one of the service, the contract says that the cost are borne by the company, but that in case of contract termination, the following applies:

"Should either party give notice for whatever reason within the first 12 months of employment under this Employment contract, the incurred costs for the service shall be repayable in full."

The problem is that when the company proposed me the service, I did not have any clue about its price, I naively accepted the help offer. I did not sign any contract myself with the subcontractor or did not saw any quotes before starting to benefit from the service. However, now that I have terminated my contract, the company is asking me to pay a huge amount of money for it. In some way, I would call this situation a "forced sale".

Is this legal in Switzerland?
Could you give me any pointers to legal text I could read or share similar experiences with me?

Thanks for your help,
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Old 18.07.2011, 22:18
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

So you knew that clause was there (or should have) either way you accepted it when you signed the contract and presumably the relo' package contents. You accepted the service without asking the cost, and you terminated the contract and now the clause is being enforced by your employer.... you are not happy

If your ex-firm can justify the bill they gave you (irrespective of size) as re-imbursement of the cost incurred on your behalf as per the contact, what do you think would happen? I'm not an expert but I'd say you are scuppered and are going to have to cough up, so best try to negotiate a settlement.

EDIT - Oh and welcome to the forum, lovely way to start, most folk however tend to go down the introduction route 1st
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Old 18.07.2011, 22:25
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

I am with Papa Goose...We are expats on our third assignment and all those services/rules are mentioned in the contract, if my other half resigns within a year full reimbursment, after that pro rata.....
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Old 18.07.2011, 22:41
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

Thanks for sharing your views and sorry for not introducing myself

It's true that I had signed the contract, meaning that I accepted all the clauses... However, not being an expert and not willing to cough up, I still hope that there might be a bug somewhere...

Any other opinions?
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Old 18.07.2011, 22:58
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

Well......there are very few, because legally you are committed, no question.

How much is it, may I ask?

1. Are you staying here or moving back? If you are staying.....try and get another job and negotiate a "signing on fee" as they will save money by not relocating somebody else

2. Tug the heartstrings of the company about the personal circumstances that made you leave

3. Take the risk that they won't sue you for it

4. The only legal loophole I could see if if they hid or disguised the cost when you signed the contract eg if you asked and they didn't tell you, or said "Just sign it, we never would enforce that"

But you're clutching at straws to be honest....
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Old 19.07.2011, 01:36
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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"Should either party give notice for whatever reason within the first 12 months of employment under this Employment contract, the incurred costs for the service shall be repayable in full."

Exactly, what "service" do they want you to repay?

Relocation allowance is a taxable benefit, perhaps you have already been taxed on this value? This is one point you might want to argue.

The personal reasons for leaving your job, I am not asking what they are but if they were such that you could not remain in Switzerland, then maybe there might be some way to negotiate this. If the personal reasons have something to do with the workplace, the job itself, this can be complicated.

Many companies have employee contracts that stipulate benefits need to be repaid, the terms and conditions vary widely.
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Old 19.07.2011, 07:25
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

The service was a coach for my partner to find a job in Switzerland. Its cost is approx 11000 CHF The "coaching" started some months before I started my contract and was pretty inefficient in the end. We did not really need it but took it originaly more as a bonus, in case it would help. I finally decided to leave Switzerland seeing that there were very little hope that my partner could join me.

It seems to me that the reimbursement clause of the contract is abusive, it's like you signed a blank cheque!
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Old 19.07.2011, 07:48
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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The service was a coach for my partner to find a job in Switzerland. Its cost is approx 11000 CHF The "coaching" started some months before I started my contract and was pretty inefficient in the end. We did not really need it but took it originaly more as a bonus, in case it would help. I finally decided to leave Switzerland seeing that there were very little hope that my partner could join me.

It seems to me that the reimbursement clause of the contract is abusive, it's like you signed a blank cheque!
Its only a blank cheque if you treated the company as the same - ie you only had to pay what you used.

So....bottom line......you took a service from the company that you didn't need & didin't want without reviewing the contract? Then I think you need to change your approach from arguing that it isn't fair....to accepting that it IS fair and its your fault, and eat some humble pie and try to negotiate it.

Or just take a risk that they probably won't go to court for such a small amount of money.

(Loophole might be if you argue that the service didn't deliver what it promised and that if it had, you would have moved)

But honestly.....i think you need to just accept that it was you that screwed up, not them
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Old 19.07.2011, 08:29
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

Speaking as an employer, this really sticks in my craw so to speak. After all your employer made all the right steps to integrate you into the system, providing benefits that it was willing to pay for to ease the transition with only the requirement that you actually stay in the company. They now have to find a replacement and probably pay for the whole thing again because of your personal reasons coming from your private life, and therefore ask you to repay what they have spent on you , something they were clear about beforehand, and you feel hard done by and want to find a loophole not to pay.
I hope they do pursue you for their money because it is exactly that, their money.
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Old 19.07.2011, 08:36
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

I agree with PG and grumpygit here.

Your company paid for all these things considering this as an investment which would be returned in due time by means of you working for them and bringing them benefits.

And they put it on paper which you signed.

You decide to leave early, the company deserves to have its investments returned to them. I think thats only fair.

I know its not easy, but perhaps at others suggested you could negotiate a breakdown of the amount to be paid over a period of time so that it does not hurt you as much either.

Good luck.
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Old 19.07.2011, 09:08
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

its staggering the amount of threads like this we get on here, obviously senior positions, so you'd reasonably expect these people to be fairly bright, yet they sign things without reading them, take take take, then try to worm there way out of there responsibilities, what sort or role model is this?? no wonder footballers, gangsters and drug head 'stars' are who the youth look upto

regardless of what the law says, what do your morals say??

personally I'd say your company has had a lucky escape.
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Old 19.07.2011, 09:17
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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The service was a coach for my partner to find a job in Switzerland. Its cost is approx 11000 CHF The "coaching" started some months before I started my contract and was pretty inefficient in the end. We did not really need it but took it originaly more as a bonus, in case it would help. I finally decided to leave Switzerland seeing that there were very little hope that my partner could join me.

It seems to me that the reimbursement clause of the contract is abusive, it's like you signed a blank cheque!
LOL...

How about this:
Your partner couldn't find a job because no one would hire him, as employers were fed up rolling out a red carpet, paying relo' packages, arranging permits, and incurring expenses... just for people decide they didn't want to stay. Which makes them think lets hire local, crapping on the plate of other expats looking for work here

I think, as do others, and it would seem your employer, that you had your cake, eaten it... and now it's time to pay for it. Nothing abusive, just a reasonable application of the contractual obligation you entered into.
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Old 19.07.2011, 09:35
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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Dear All,

I have a question for you about the reimbursement of the welcome package when terminating a contract during the probation period.
...
In some way, I would call this situation a "forced sale".
...
Is this legal in Switzerland?

You signed a contract. There's no forced sale. You signed it.
It's legal everywhere!

Morality: don't sign anything without clearly reading or asking specifics details.


Also it's a shame that you are giving up after a few months only!

And it's a shame that the people working at HR for your ex-employer will probably use that negative experience to blame foreigners.
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Old 19.07.2011, 09:43
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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Dear All,
I did not have any clue about its price, I naively accepted the help offer.
In some way, I would call this situation a "forced sale".
It seems to me that the reimbursement clause of the contract is abusive
I still hope that there might be a bug somewhere...
Yes I don't want to throw the stone at you because you're already in a shitty situation. (you clearly put yourself there, though).

But the annoying thing is that you probably a highly paid manager or something (seeing they offered coaching, relocation, etc...) and yet you can't even respect a contract or accept your actions?

I bloody hate wank...erm managers!
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Old 19.07.2011, 09:50
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

Surely you had to have a couple of intense interviews to get the job and for them to be paying a lot of money sending you here? Surely you had more then only coaching for your husband to find a job here (like relocation allowance, higher salary or equalisation allowance etc) It is a huge investment for a company to send people abroard (in our case, family of 6, kids international school etc) so it is normal that you will have to pay if you don't hold your end of the bargain. I haven't met an expat that didn't have some kind of reimbursement clause in his/her contract.
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Old 19.07.2011, 10:39
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

Hi, It is a shame that your partner cannot join you, but this must have been known at the time you signed the contract, there was always a high risk.

You have to pay, simple as. Not an opinion rather a fact.
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Old 19.07.2011, 10:49
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

oh and just as a word or warning, although its too late I assume you work for one of the big companies here, so someone here will also work there, and will be able to work out who you are, I wouldn't be at all surprised if your hr dept is aware of this thread
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Old 19.07.2011, 11:02
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

Oi! Guys, no need for the "scare" tactics and badgering.

OP, I think you should count yourself lucky that it isn't worse than it is, man or woman up so to speak, take care of your responsibility (ie-pay the company what it cost them to bring you over here), and quietly go back to your happier place (where your partner is, etc.).

It was your choice to come here, your choice to accept the contract they gave you, and your choice to leave. Understandably, you are upset about these circumstances, as I think most of us would be if we had to shell out over 10 grand, so learn from it, and then move on. Life is too short. Good luck in the future...

Last edited by JLF; 19.07.2011 at 11:13.
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Old 19.07.2011, 12:56
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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oh and just as a word or warning, although its too late I assume you work for one of the big companies here, so someone here will also work there, and will be able to work out who you are, I wouldn't be at all surprised if your hr dept is aware of this thread
It would be incredibly petty for somebody on the EF to make a companies HR department aware of threads. I hope that it isn't the case. Shameful behaviour in my opinion.
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Old 19.07.2011, 12:59
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Re: Reimbursement of the welcome package

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Good luck in the future...
And learn to read contracts before you sign them or you're really going to suck at working in the business world.
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