Can I Ask a Prospective Employer to Pay My Retention Package that I will Lose?

If you have entered into a retention agreement with your employer and you are offered your dream job during the retention period, it can create quite a dilemma for you. Many people make the mistake of thinking there is no way to take the new job without losing the retention bonus they would’ve received if they completed the retention period. Your retention contract is a legally binding contract that should be read by you and your attorney very carefully, it may allow you a few different options in this situation. One option could be to ask your potential new employer to pay the bonus (or a portion of it), that you will lose by taking the job with them.

What should you look for in your retention agreement? First, you should review the contract to see if there are any clauses requiring you to repay any sums (or other negative consequences) if you leave your employment prior to the expiration of the retention period. Second, determine whether the contract requires you to keep the existence of, or the terms of, the retention contract confidential. Similarly, look for any non-compete provisions that may prohibit you from working for a competitor. Finally, look to see if you are required to provide a certain number of days’ notice for your resignation.

If you have already been paid retention monies or been granted other benefits under the retention contract, you must determine if you are obligated to return or repay those benefits. Most retention contracts do not allow the employee to receive anything until they have either stayed the retention period. In some cases, the contract may allow small payments to be paid according to a schedule set forth in the agreement.

Once you have answers to all of the above matters and you are comfortable with your ability to do so, it is acceptable to ask your potential new employer to pay, in full or partially, the retention bonus you will sacrifice by accepting their job. Most employers understand the employee’s request to be “made whole” and that this is the cost of gaining you as an employee.

Remember to keep the retention agreement and its contents confidential when talking to the potential new employer. You do not want to give your current employer a reason to fire you “for cause.” In fact, having an experienced attorney assist you with your retention agreement and negotiations with a new employer is important to protecting your best interests.

Mailly Law is knowledgeable and experienced in handling retention agreements. We will help you understand all your options and aggressively negotiate every benefit and protection in your favor. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.