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Old 01.05.2021, 11:19
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Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Hello everyone,

sorry for the long title, but I'll explain here:

I was hired thru an agency to work for this company X. I have the contract with the agency and they got paid by the company and after some months I had to be hired directly under X.

Last summer we discussed a salary and I had the confirmation written by mail that at the end of the 6 months I'd be hired in the mother company with the same salary unless I hade a negative review.

Now the time has come to be hired in X (after they delayed 5 months), but I got a call from HR that told me "we offer you your salary reduced of -15%, that's our offer and if you don't accept we just won't hire you".

I replied that it was shocking, usually when from the agency you get hired in the main company you get a rise and a promotion, not the opposite. They gave their word (and I have written confirmation) and rented an apartment accordingly and had other expenses and obviously this impacts my personal life a lot.

My answer to HR was that it wasn't what we planned and I asked if I received a negative review, they said no that it was positive and it was just a "financial decision". For the company maybe, but to me is very personal because it touches me in my walled. But the alternative was to be unemployed by next month and I feel like this is a sort of blackmail.

But is it legal/allowed? I have a consultation with a lawyer next week, but wanted to know from other employees like me if they have ever seen something like this happening.

Thanks
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Old 01.05.2021, 11:22
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Why on Earth would this be illegal? They have no obligation to keep your current salary forever. If you don't like it, just walk away
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Old 01.05.2021, 11:30
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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Why on Earth would this be illegal? They have no obligation to keep your current salary forever. If you don't like it, just walk away
That's why I am asking, no need to be rude bro, mind your manners.

To answer your ridiculous question, as I already stated it is because we discussed and set the numbers already months ago. There shouldn't have been a re-discussion at all and I had written confirmation that I would have been hired with my salary unchanged.

Let's not even discuss how poorly this reflects from the company, that after positive reviews and giving your their written word decides to lowball me and recede on their own words, showing a total lack of professionalism and that they can't be trusted in any way whatsoever.

And no, I can't walk away since I moved from another country to come here and I had to rent an apartment, subscribe to the insurance, sacrifice my personal life for promises of a certain salary and a secure job and I found myself in front of a blackmail and the risk of being unemployed.

Obviously I'm looking for new positions, but I can't afford to be unemployed in the meanwhile.
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Old 01.05.2021, 11:44
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

beware, some how swiss employers have a way of knowing youre situation, they now know all of youre predicament ,and have offered you a job/wage to take advantage of said predicament
i was recently laid off ,after a discussion with the boss, where i told him i intended to work another two years, and what my wage expectation would be in any new job i searched for,
since then, the few interviews i have had, the prospective employers have stated that do not want someone who is only intending to stay for a couple of years, and have offered a wage within a frank or two of what i discussed with my former employer,
i since got a job, where the boss said he is looking for an older, experienced person to hold ship for maybe two years, maximum three, to give him time to build the company up, and offered me a wage..... identical to what i had previously discussed, i have since learnt that my old boss attends monthly meetings with other like minded bosses where they discuss prices(fixing),and job market and employees, all a bit cooincidental, but illegal or not i dont know
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Old 01.05.2021, 11:44
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Perfectly legal BUT they must respect the notice period, i.e. they can only lower it after that period.

In short, they can raise it without notice, but lowering it has to follow the same rules as terminating your employment.

Tom
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Old 01.05.2021, 12:14
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

While it is annoying and unpleasant its not illegal.

You can accept and look for another job (thats what I would do) or you can walk away. But there is no option to hold them to the old contract.

There is a lot of information about employment law here on EF in English.
Get yourself familiarised with them.
There is no such thing as a secure job in Switzerland. They can always let you go if they respect the terms of your contract and the law. Usually they need to pay you for the termination period which is normally 1 to 3 months but you need to work those days. Thats it. Basically.
There are some finer details but you should look into these yourself. Its important to know at least the basics.
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Old 01.05.2021, 12:30
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

My emplyer has been trying to reduce my time to 50% since September (actually 1 1/2 years earlier), but as I have too much work to do, that only I can do, every month I get a new contract supplanting the previous contract stating that I am at 100% until next month, at which point I should switch to 50%!

Fortunately, one co-worker has resigned for June, which leaves me as one of the two engineers who speak German and French, thus assuting my 100% for some time to come (and nobody else can understand my audio processing code written in parallel-pipelined assembly language, let alone understand audio processing, sort of crucial if you are making mixing consoles.

Tom
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Old 01.05.2021, 12:34
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

This is not illegal but morally and ethically questionable.
Best is to sign the contract so that you get paid, and look for another job immediately.
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Old 01.05.2021, 12:41
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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That's why I am asking, no need to be rude bro, mind your manners.
Writes the BadMoFo
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Old 01.05.2021, 13:09
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

the lawyer will likely tell you it's legal. This is a new contract.

Your only option given what you said is to accept, then start looking for another job, but keep your cards close regarding your dissatisfaction or plans. Put on a fake smile.
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Old 01.05.2021, 14:47
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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Last summer we discussed a salary and I had the confirmation written by mail that at the end of the 6 months I'd be hired in the mother company with the same salary unless I hade a negative review.
I think this is the only part that rubs you in the wound - you had a written statement.

However, the question is - who wrote it, the company or the agency?
Only use of the lawyer would be to check if such email is binding eg a contract.

If it was on paper with signatures and all the details, it might be binding. However, email and spoken words are probably easier to interpret as non binding since you'd probably need witnesses and whatnot.

I feel for you, that's a really shitty move of them. And a weird one.
I mean, if they don't want you, they could just say they don't want a direct contract, it would be a honest move at least.
Because they're plain stupid if they think you'll stay with them happily after this move.
I think nothing crush the motivation more than such moves.

I don't like when companies/people resort to shitty moves to push people out, why is so hard for them to have an honest convo and tell the folks situation changed or they simply don't like them as employees anymore and agree on parting ways in amicable way.
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Old 01.05.2021, 14:58
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Maybe its not about not wanting the person. Some people seem to miss that we have Covid. Many areas of the economy are badly affected. Maybe the company simply cant afford to pay him more. The situation has changed and right now its that offer, take it or leave it.
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Old 01.05.2021, 15:32
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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Maybe its not about not wanting the person. Some people seem to miss that we have Covid. Many areas of the economy are badly affected. Maybe the company simply cant afford to pay him more. The situation has changed and right now its that offer, take it or leave it.
I would still appreciate that the company tells me that BEFORE giving me lower offer than initially agreed upon.
It's about the way how they do things.

Judging by the fact that OP had to ASK why it's lower, they didn't tell him a thing, and that's unprofessional. And they just lost that worker. So that means more cost of getting the new one and train them / get them in the loop.

That's very bad business strategy, covid or not.
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Old 01.05.2021, 16:08
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Maybe out on a limb, but by any chance is that 15% the cut that the agency was taking? So by removing the agency the company saves that money and pays you what you would have gotten before? Or are they taking off the agency fee AND another 15%?

Also it's rarely a good idea to make financial decisions like nicer apartment etc. based on what might be. Base it on what you can afford today, with today's salary. Maybe even base it on 70% of your salary, which is what you'd get from RAV if you were unemployed.
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Old 01.05.2021, 16:09
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Sounds like you were living way above your means if a small 15% drop in income ruined your plans so much.

Companies can fire you for any reason, they only have to respect the notice period. If you worked long enough you'd get something from unemployment insurance, ~70-80% of your old salary (or less for high earners). That's the only thing you could count on as far as job security goes
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Old 01.05.2021, 16:11
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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Maybe out on a limb, but by any chance is that 15% the cut that the agency was taking? So by removing the agency the company saves that money and pays you what you would have gotten before? Or are they taking off the agency fee AND another 15%?

Also it's rarely a good idea to make financial decisions like nicer apartment etc. based on what might be. Base it on what you can afford today, with today's salary. Maybe even base it on 70% of your salary, which is what you'd get from RAV if you were unemployed.
Thank you so much for mentioning this!!!!

Especially during these Covid times, I see many desperate people who cannot afford their lifestyle anymore.

Switzerland is pretty expensive, so plan carefully as if you only gained 70% of your salary (and set some money aside); if you lose your job or if, for any other reason, your income is lower, you still have to pay full price on your health insurance, apartment, mortgage, etc.

My neighbour, who used to make 15'000 chf/month, had to move as he cannot afford the apartment anymore. I wonder where the hell he spent all his money (ok, maybe the 3 sport cars in the garage?)

Also, agreed that it's a shitty move from the company. Is this another international company or is it local?
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Old 01.05.2021, 16:46
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

If they are really offering 15% less than agreed, check with the lawyer whether the original statement you have constitutes an offer that has been accepted. If that's the case, then, as Tom said, they have to respect the notice period. You are free to accept the new contract or turn it down (but check the claim on RAV).

Personally, I'd accept the new contract and immediately start looking for another job.
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Old 01.05.2021, 16:54
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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Sounds like you were living way above your means if a small 15% drop in income ruined your plans so much.

Companies can fire you for any reason, they only have to respect the notice period. If you worked long enough you'd get something from unemployment insurance, ~70-80% of your old salary (or less for high earners). That's the only thing you could count on as far as job security goes
That's an absurd point - a deal is a deal, the company should honour it and personally I would be looking for another job immediately due to the total lack of respect and trust.

And 15% may easily be the difference between living comfortably and having no spare money. There are plenty of people who have to work hard to live within their income.
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Old 01.05.2021, 17:46
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

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That's an absurd point - a deal is a deal, the company should honour it
Was it there actually? Sound to me like it was all just empty talks. Unless something substantial was actually put into writing, there was never a deal here.

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and personally I would be looking for another job immediately due to the total lack of respect and trust.
Yeah, comp going down certainly isn't contributing to a high workers morale and is a management mistake. They should've just fired him / not extend that low ball offer, instead of risking dealing with a disgruntled employee that threatens taking them to the cleaners now.

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And 15% may easily be the difference between living comfortably and having no spare money
I recall reading studies concluding most people can hardly notice small increases in costs. ~20% was the threshold at which people start to perceive a difference. Seems plausible it should work the other way - you should not be severely affected by a 15-16% drop in income.
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Old 01.05.2021, 17:47
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Re: Is it allowed to be offered fewer money for the job you already have?

Take it as a good lesson for the future - unless you have contract signed from their side, all words and promises (especially from HR) are just farts in the wind, not much more meaning or reliability there. This concerns especially 1) salary and 2) starting time / duration of the contract.

Companies generally love to screw the hell out of employees if they can and only if the market is on employee's side they turn to nice human behavior to attract talent that every company feels entitled for but resent paying for. Covid gave a lot of extra room for hiring process to be messy in number of ways. You can be lucky and face a decent company & human beings, but don't rely on it.
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