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Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Old Sep 9th 2016, 10:11 am
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Default Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Hello All,
I have been offered a relocation to US and the employment contract mentions it as 'at will' employment.
How risky is this?
Also it does not talk about any severance package or option. Is this standard?
thanks,
Barua
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Old Sep 9th 2016, 11:22 am
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Originally Posted by barua View Post
Hello All,
I have been offered a relocation to US and the employment contract mentions it as 'at will' employment.
How risky is this?
Also it does not talk about any severance package or option. Is this standard?
thanks,
Barua
It means the employer can terminate your employment without notice and without reason. This is quite normal in the US. You may be able to negotiate a termination package before accepting the position.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Sep 9th 2016 at 11:51 am.
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Old Sep 9th 2016, 11:42 am
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Thanks Jerseygirl
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Old Sep 9th 2016, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

"At will" employment and severance packages are not mutually exclusive, and "at will" employment has more impact on people being terminated "under a cloud", but low level manual labourers and factory workers are often "laid off" without compensation.

From a British perspective it seems weird, and risky, if not actually exploitative, but it is perfectly normal in America and you quickly get used to it. It has never impacted me, thankfully.
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Old Sep 9th 2016, 3:11 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

I believe others have managed to negotiate at least a contribution towards repatriation costs. That would be my main concern.
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Old Sep 9th 2016, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Some visas specify that repatriation costs must be covered by the employer if/when the employment ends.
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Old Sep 10th 2016, 6:46 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
It means the employer can terminate your employment without notice and without reason. This is quite normal in the US. You may be able to negotiate a termination package before accepting the position.
It works the other way as well, the employee is able to terminate their employment without notice and without reason.
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Old Sep 13th 2016, 2:31 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
I believe others have managed to negotiate at least a contribution towards repatriation costs. That would be my main concern.
Hi - regarding negotiating on employment contracts - is it anyone's experience that people can negotiate longer termination agreements? Husband's current job wants him to sign a 1 year's notice termination clause which if we weren't planning a move to the States would be desirable to us in terms of security and peace of mind - especially in a new country. My question is - I know about the difference in Employment law in the States - but is it possible to negotiate 3 months or more notice either side still over there, to give a bit more security?

My husband is soon to look for work in NYC - he is currently Upper Management level in Risk Management with a roving brief covering Capital Adequacy and financial regulation in-house at a financial institution and has his New York Bar so is qualified to work in NY state. His experience should see him be quite employable in a growing sector. Anyone know of similarly well positioned people able to negotiate good deals with a US company? Thank you
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Old Sep 13th 2016, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Originally Posted by yalini View Post
Hi - regarding negotiating on employment contracts - is it anyone's experience that people can negotiate longer termination agreements? Husband's current job wants him to sign a 1 year's notice termination clause which if we weren't planning a move to the States would be desirable to us in terms of security and peace of mind - especially in a new country. My question is - I know about the difference in Employment law in the States - but is it possible to negotiate 3 months or more notice either side still over there, to give a bit more security?

My husband is soon to look for work in NYC - he is currently Upper Management level in Risk Management with a roving brief covering Capital Adequacy and financial regulation in-house at a financial institution and has his New York Bar so is qualified to work in NY state. His experience should see him be quite employable in a growing sector. Anyone know of similarly well positioned people able to negotiate good deals with a US company? .... Thank you
It seems highly unlikely that you could negotiate more time - asking for a bigger payoff in the event of being laid off is a better bet, so long as it isn't "for cause", when all bets are off.
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Old Sep 13th 2016, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Originally Posted by yalini View Post
... is it possible to negotiate 3 months or more notice either side still over there, to give a bit more security?
I'm sure it's possible, but 2 week's notice is pretty standard in the US.


His experience should see him be quite employable in a growing sector.
No doubt - but if he is sponsored for a visa, he can work only for the sponsoring company whether he ultimately likes them or not. If either he or they terminate employment, he goes home unless he can find another company willing to sponsor him for a visa.

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Old Sep 13th 2016, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Dear both - thanks so much for those replies. That's very helpful. I guess more money is equal to notice period in terms of security. I must search the forum for more info on obtaining a Green Card as that's something he'll need to negotiate too.
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Old Sep 13th 2016, 10:40 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Also generally your healthcare is covered until the end of the month in which your employment terminates. From my experience I have only seen contracts for people at ELT level. VP and below are generally on "at will" employment. this is normally mentioned in the offer letter. This letter does not normally constitute a contract.
The termination package can vary depending on the current HR policy, and can be changed at any time. Some companies may make exceptions for individuals, but many will not as it creates potentially unforeseen liabilities. There is no legal requirement in my State to be paid any compensation when getting laid off. Most will pay 1 week for every year worked up to a stated maximum. This is only paid if you sign a waiver. Employers also do not generally pay out unused vacations unless it is "earned" vacation.

Last edited by mrken30; Sep 13th 2016 at 10:43 pm.
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Old Sep 13th 2016, 11:30 pm
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

OK thanks - we'll have to see what can be negotiated or whether we can just put money aside for the equivalent of three months or so for our peace of mind.
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Old Sep 14th 2016, 12:56 am
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Originally Posted by yalini View Post
OK thanks - we'll have to see what can be negotiated or whether we can just put money aside for the equivalent of three months or so for our peace of mind.
Financial advisors in the US usually recommend cash savings equivalent to six months of expenses (sometimes they say "income", but that is a bit optimistic) for a rainy day.
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Old Sep 14th 2016, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Employment offer 'At will' wordings

Well that's a big ask, but once we stop paying for UK private schools it won't be as impossible as it would be right now! Thank you.
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