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Old 05.07.2019, 23:32
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Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

Hi, I am confused by a kinda rare situation and would like to ask whether or how to complain about it. So here it goes. (before this I would like to thank many amazing posts here that helped me with information). I work as a postdoc on a 3-year contract, with expectation of 1 year researching abroad in a non-EU country. My contract states that there is this component. So there I was, started my permit B. Then, after half a year, I was off to abroad. Since I would be gone for more than 6 months (12months exact), I won't be able to keep my permit B. My boss suggested that I deregister. I did.

Shit happened. My bank, after half way through, deactivated my account on the basis that I did not live in CH at the moment and thus could not do banking with them. ??? Confused. Angry. I asked my employer to weigh in. All they did was providing a statement about my employment. Bank needed an attestation de domicille. I could not provide that since I was abroad. So, not only I was shut from getting money from my bank account, but also I was not paid salaries for 6 consecutive months. I had to borrow money to live abroad, while doing all the research that is required of me from my employer.

Now I return to CH. I applied for Permit B again. Once I got my attestation of arrival, on my 3rd day of return, my bank reactivated my account. My employer, the HR, said, oh, you missed the date of paying day, so we will pay you 7 months salaries at once next month...

Am I the victim here? I could have stopped working because I was not paid but still in a valid employment relationship with my employer, which is a Swiss Uni. Who do I make complaint to? Can I get compensation for my employer's lack of responsibility? The HR knew on the first day that this all would happen, but why did they not act on my side at all with the bank? I borrowed from family, which was ok. But if I was not so lucky and had to take a loan, who is responsible for paying back the interest???

Sorry about venting. I feel much better now. TL, DR: Employer did not pay me for 6 months while I worked for my job. Bank deactivated me.


Thanks for reading and look forward to your comments.

Best,
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Old 05.07.2019, 23:48
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

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Hi, I am confused by a kinda rare situation and would like to ask whether or how to complain about it. So here it goes. (before this I would like to thank many amazing posts here that helped me with information). I work as a postdoc on a 3-year contract, with expectation of 1 year researching abroad in a non-EU country. My contract states that there is this component. So there I was, started my permit B. Then, after half a year, I was off to abroad. Since I would be gone for more than 6 months (12months exact), I won't be able to keep my permit B. My boss suggested that I deregister. I did.

Shit happened. My bank, after half way through, deactivated my account on the basis that I did not live in CH at the moment and thus could not do banking with them. ??? Confused. Angry. I asked my employer to weigh in. All they did was providing a statement about my employment. Bank needed an attestation de domicille. I could not provide that since I was abroad. So, not only I was shut from getting money from my bank account, but also I was not paid salaries for 6 consecutive months. I had to borrow money to live abroad, while doing all the research that is required of me from my employer.

Now I return to CH. I applied for Permit B again. Once I got my attestation of arrival, on my 3rd day of return, my bank reactivated my account. My employer, the HR, said, oh, you missed the date of paying day, so we will pay you 7 months salaries at once next month...

Am I the victim here? I could have stopped working because I was not paid but still in a valid employment relationship with my employer, which is a Swiss Uni. Who do I make complaint to? Can I get compensation for my employer's lack of responsibility? The HR knew on the first day that this all would happen, but why did they not act on my side at all with the bank? I borrowed from family, which was ok. But if I was not so lucky and had to take a loan, who is responsible for paying back the interest???

Sorry about venting. I feel much better now. TL, DR: Employer did not pay me for 6 months while I worked for my job. Bank deactivated me.


Thanks for reading and look forward to your comments.

Best,
You could wait for 6 months but now you don't want to wait 20 days?
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Old 06.07.2019, 01:41
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

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Sorry about venting. I feel much better now. TL, DR: Employer did not pay me for 6 months while I worked for my job. Bank deactivated me
Your banking arrangements is not your employer’s problem. The fact is that your employer was unable to pay you because you failed to provide them with the required bank account details which is very different to your claim. Be very careful about making such claims as universities value their reputation and there may be consequences to your future studies with them.

All organizations are set up to process payrolls at certain times of the month and they don’t have staff sitting around on the off chance that you might turn expecting special treatment. You missed the pay run, so you have to wait.
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Old 06.07.2019, 10:00
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

Why did you not just open a bank account in the country where you are now and provide the details to your employer?
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Old 06.07.2019, 12:14
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

You might want to find the guy responsible for your situation, and tell him that he should get a better grip on things in future to avoid you getting in such mess again.

Tip: He can be found in any mirror.
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Old 06.07.2019, 14:32
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

I think your thread title is correct. It says you are confused about it.

The confusion is the emotional mix-up between the annoying fact of suddenly finding your bank account closed, which you didn't ever think could happen to you, and the uncertainty about whether deregistering was, in fact the right advice. Plus the mix-up of wanting your salary, yet not actually needing it desperately since your relatives helped you out. And now you're back, are registered, have a permit and a bank account, it seems you feel a bit mixed up about how the employer ought possibly have helped you back then, or in the interim.

It's very easy to get in a mix about which part is whose responsibility. Many threads on this, and other, fora, are about sorting out whose job was done or not done by whom and why.

The lesson to be learnt, I think, is to never, ever deregister from anything, especially a permit to live in a country, until you have fully researched and understood all the consequences (in this case, that your bank account would be closed). Then, armed with the proper information, you'll be empowered to organise everything with clarity, before a problem arises.

One possible way might have been to apply for permission to extend/keep/freeze your permit, on the basis that you were leaving the country only for a few months, would continue to have the same employer, and would soon be back. If that were granted to you, your bank account would not have been closed, and you could have continued to receive the payment just the same as it had been running.

Another possibility would be to have ensured that you supplied your employer with alternate banking details into which to pay your salary while you were away.

Either way, it's water under the bridge. I understand that it was confusing and annoying, but hope they soon do give you all the back-pay, so you can refund your relatives, and then everything will be settled.
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Old 06.07.2019, 16:05
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

Thanks very much. Indeed you understood my confusion perfectly. And the only issue was about the de-registration being a misstep-- nevertheless it was an advice from my boss who believed her experience was correct... turns out not.


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I think your thread title is correct. It says you are confused about it.

The confusion is the emotional mix-up between the annoying fact of suddenly finding your bank account closed, which you didn't ever think could happen to you, and the uncertainty about whether deregistering was, in fact the right advice. Plus the mix-up of wanting your salary, yet not actually needing it desperately since your relatives helped you out. And now you're back, are registered, have a permit and a bank account, it seems you feel a bit mixed up about how the employer ought possibly have helped you back then, or in the interim.

It's very easy to get in a mix about which part is whose responsibility. Many threads on this, and other, fora, are about sorting out whose job was done or not done by whom and why.

The lesson to be learnt, I think, is to never, ever deregister from anything, especially a permit to live in a country, until you have fully researched and understood all the consequences (in this case, that your bank account would be closed). Then, armed with the proper information, you'll be empowered to organise everything with clarity, before a problem arises.

One possible way might have been to apply for permission to extend/keep/freeze your permit, on the basis that you were leaving the country only for a few months, would continue to have the same employer, and would soon be back. If that were granted to you, your bank account would not have been closed, and you could have continued to receive the payment just the same as it had been running.

Another possibility would be to have ensured that you supplied your employer with alternate banking details into which to pay your salary while you were away.

Either way, it's water under the bridge. I understand that it was confusing and annoying, but hope they soon do give you all the back-pay, so you can refund your relatives, and then everything will be settled.
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Old 06.07.2019, 17:32
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

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If I understand it correctly, I am protected by labor law, aren't I?
And your employer's good name is also protected by law. A law for which you seem to have very little regard, as you have made several false statements.


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I don't think I am the sole party at fault.
What you think does not come into it. Your employer was prevented from for legal reasons. Trying to make a complaint against them for complying with the laws is not going to fly in is just plain dumb.

You have now published enough on the topic for them to identify you...
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Old 06.07.2019, 18:23
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

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If I understand it correctly, I am protected by labor law, aren't I?
In general, compared to many other countries: NO. Swiss labour laws provide a basis, but the employees enjoy much less protection than someone from a more protected country might imagine.

Here it is seen that the employer has no duty, at all, to inform the employee about rights and duties with regard to the employee's permit. The permit can be facilitated by the employer in some cases, but it is still an arrangement between the permit-holder and the immigration authorities. Therefore, even if the advice your manager gave might have been poor, it was still up to you, and you alone, to decide whether or not to follow her advice, having informed yourself about all the consequences of deregistering, and all the possibilities for obtaining permission to not have to deregister.

Ditto, by analogy, about the bank account. The employer is bound to pay you to the place you designate. If that account doesn't work, then it is up to you, and not seen as any responsibility of the employer, to specify to where else the employer should send the money.

The employer's duty to look after the employee's interests is perceived as restricted to within the work-place, e.g. enforcing health and safety regulations, and also to fulilling the employer's administrative duties, e.g. paying the regulatory Social Security contributions. That's generally about it.

I understand that, given your various prior experiences, you couldn't have imagined that this one could be so very different that it would end up slapping you in the face the way it has. And had that happened to me, I'd probably also be very annoyed. So I do sympathise with that aspect. Even so, one of the first sayings I learnt when arriving in Switzerland was: "You Owe It To Yourself To Find Out", and that's the way the country runs. Once you change gear to work within that, there really is a remarkable amount of good information online (on this forum but of course not only) about how this country ticks.
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Old 06.07.2019, 18:30
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

Thanks for your empathy and understanding.
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In general, compared to many other countries: NO. Swiss labour laws provide a basis, but the employees enjoy much less protection than someone from a more protected country might imagine.

Here it is seen that the employer has no duty, at all, to inform the employee about rights and duties with regard to the employee's permit. The permit can be facilitated by the employer in some cases, but it is still an arrangement between the permit-holder and the immigration authorities. Therefore, even if the advice your manager gave might have been poor, it was still up to you, and you alone, to decide whether or not to follow her advice, having informed yourself about all the consequences of deregistering, and all the possibilities for obtaining permission to not have to deregister.

Ditto, by analogy, about the bank account. The employer is bound to pay you to the place you designate. If that account doesn't work, then it is up to you, and not seen as any responsibility of the employer, to specify to where else the employer should send the money.

The employer's duty to look after the employee's interests is perceived as restricted to within the work-place, e.g. enforcing health and safety regulations, and also to fulilling the employer's administrative duties, e.g. paying the regulatory Social Security contributions. That's generally about it.

I understand that, given your various prior experiences, you couldn't have imagined that this one could be so very different that it would end up slapping you in the face the way it has. And had that happened to me, I'd probably also be very annoyed. So I do sympathise with that aspect. Even so, one of the first sayings I learnt when arriving in Switzerland was: "You Owe It To Yourself To Find Out", and that's the way the country runs. Once you change gear to work within that, there really is a remarkable amount of good information online (on this forum but of course not only) about how this country ticks.
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Old 06.07.2019, 18:43
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

You, and you alone, screwed up here.

Tom
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Old 06.07.2019, 19:48
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

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You, and you alone, screwed up here.

Tom
Well, 99%. The manager did give bad advice on a subject she really should have kept quiet about. A bit of irresponsibility on her part. But nothing that will give compensation of any kind, nor pay any interest on loans etc. etc...
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Old 06.07.2019, 21:13
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

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so we will pay you 7 months salaries at once next month...

uh-oh, that'll be taxed a bit!
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Old 07.07.2019, 09:57
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

I just wanted to add that Swiss employers can pay salaries to foreign bank accounts, although the person in charge might be slightly annoyed because of extra charges on the international transfer. But all one needs to do is to communicate the proper IBAN to the employer.

I am a bit surprised that the employer just stopped paying for months without asking for another account number, given that there was some communication going on on the subject. Nothing illegal, just common sense...
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Old 07.07.2019, 10:12
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Re: Confused about my employer's impotence to pay my salaries for 6 months

If the pennies are tight, you might ask your employer for an advance payment ("vorschuss" in German). Most HR/payroll systems allow for that, even the most archaic ones. So you might get at least something to live on until next payday.
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