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Worried about DH's job - what could happen? sorry it is long

(13 Posts)
2point4kids Mon 11-Aug-08 07:30:33

DH started a new job just before Christmas. It's a good job, he is doing well and enjoying it.
However they are quite bad at organisation and it is becoming a problem.
A big problem is that they are stalling about paying him his bonuses owed.
When he started the job, he was due to start in February this year. They needed him sooner and asked him to start in December. He had a meeting with them and made it clear that if he left his old job earlier he would forfeit his bonus from them but that he would go ahead if the need for him to be at the new job to take over the project was urgent. They said yes, so he started in December.
In the new job his contract states that he is to get a bonus every quarter. It does say dependent on performance/company performance, but no qualifying numbers. Since DH has been working there all feedback indicates that they are very happy with him and that company is performing well as a whole.
They have not yet paid him any bonus money.
It is now part way through his third quarter so they will soon owe him 3 payments.
DH spoke to his boss about it during the second quarter and was told it would be paid shortly but nothing has come of it.

The second problem is that last week on Thursday evening (after DH had left the office) his boss sent him an email telling him that as some colleagues from an overseas office were visting on Monday (today) for several weeks, he needed to make space for them. He wants DH to move to a different office for a 3 month period to make space.
DH is not happy about moving offices. He already has a 1hr 45 min commute each way. This different location will add another 45 mins each way to it. PLus he feels he is of more value in his current office than in the other office (other staff would still be able to work just as well in the other office but havent been asked to move). DH also thinks that after 3 months it will be very very hard to get his space back at his current office as it is always filled to capacity.

DH replied to his boss's email on Thursday evening (from home) saying he would discuss it with him the next day (Friday). He got an out of office reply as his boss wa taking a day's holiday Friday. This left no space to discuss it before today when the move is supposed to take place.
DH then sent another message stating that he will go to current office as usual today but will arrive an hour early to discuss matters before the overseas colleagues arrive.

We are both wondering what happens if his boss isnt there early to talk about it...
Can DH stay at his current office until his boss meets with him to discuss?
Can DH refuse to move and ask for someone else to go instead? (other people have clearly said they will leave if they are asked to move, so think DH is being asked as the 'easy option' rather than the 'best option')
Can DH do anything about his bonus? He has been giving them the benefit of the doubt up till now, but is now going to tell his boss that he is wary of doing them any more favours to his own disadvantage as his promised rewards are not coming through.
Does he have any legal right to the bonus given the wording of his contract and his bosses verbal promises? or if worst case scenario happened and the boss had gone over his own level in promising it, could they refuse it for any reason? (DH would leave in this case and I think they know this. They would not want this as DH is in the middle of an important project)

Sorry it is so long.
I hope that someone can offer some advice on the best way to deal with it all!
Thank you

traceybath Mon 11-Aug-08 08:07:18

My DH has a business where his employees get quarterly bonuses - 50% is based on their personal achievment and 50% on the company hitting its figures.

Each employee is sat down each quarter and taken through what bonus they're getting and its paid in the following month's wages.

I'd be very wary if your DH hadn't received any bonuses and especially if the amounts hadn't even been confirmed.

I think he's doing the right thing in going in to discuss it with his manager - what does his contract say about a change of office location?

DaisyBuchanon Mon 11-Aug-08 08:22:43

I know there is often something in contracts of employment about job location - you should check the wording. In my DH's case a few years ago (similar sort of problem) it was something very vague about how he could be asked to work elsewhere with reasonable notice and within a reasonable distance, and basically he was stuffed, but an extra 45 minutes travel for your DH takes it out of what is reasonable, I would have thought. Will they reimburse him the extra travel costs? Do have a look at the wording of the contract - it will be covered somewhere.

Re the bonuses - it does sound like they are taking the P, but don't know what he can do.

2point4kids Mon 11-Aug-08 08:24:12

I'll get him to check his contract re the office location today.
When he was offered the job they agreed that he would work in his current office but would do the odd day as and when required in the second office (he has been working there about 2 days per month up to now) so I think that is what it says in his contract also.

Regarding the bonuses - the amounts have been confirmed. There is a definite amount stated in his contract to be paid per quarter.

The annoying thing is that we have had a run of bad luck recently (my business closed down, our car was written off etc) so we have been relying on the bonus money. At the moment we have an overdraft pretty much equivalent to the total bonus payment owed and we are paying £100+ a month interest on it!

Also if he has to work at the second office going forward it will add an extra £100 per week to his travel expenses!

Thanks for your advice. I wonder if because the company has not followed procedure by not sitting down with DH to discuss at the end of each quarter, they are now liable to pay up no matter what.. do you think that follows?

traceybath Mon 11-Aug-08 08:34:23

Do they have an HR person at all?

My DH's business is small but they use an HR consultant to make sure they don't get into trouble and the employees are treated fairly.

Is the company struggling at all at the moment - perhaps they've got cash flow issues and thats why they haven't paid.

I think your DH should ask for definite dates as to when the bonuses will be paid and if it were me i'd mention i was incurring interest on the money owed.

I don't know the legal stuff but i think the above is fair. I would really get some answers if i was your DH though just in case the company is in trouble because at least your DH could then start exploring other options.

tatt Mon 11-Aug-08 08:41:15

I'd be looking for another job if I was treated like that. Think he should play up the "extra travelling very tiring/time consuming, worried he may may not be able to put the same effort into his project" line.

2point4kids Mon 11-Aug-08 08:45:36

Thanks.
They do have an HR dept. They are a good sized international company. DH is pretty sure that they are not struggling and definitely have the money, it just seems that they are terrible at organisation!

If he can speak to his boss today he is going to ask for dates for payment. If no real answer is given he was planning on going to see his boss's boss.
Would it be better to go to HR instead?

2point4kids Mon 11-Aug-08 09:03:12

Just spoken to DH. He arrived at the office early to meet with his boss and the boss is not there yet at nearly 9am.
There will be no time to speak to him now as he will be with the overseas visitors all day.

I dont know if the boss never got the message or whether he just didnt turn up.

DH is telling me not to worry and that he is positive it is all a misunderstanding and will be resolved amicably soon etc.
I fear that DH is a bit too laid back and can be too trusting sometimes though.
I am actually quite worried.

I am trying to convince DH to ask his HR manager for advice if he cant get hold of his boss today (DH would rather wait to speak to his boss than to go 'behind his back')

DH is going to continue to work at his current office until his boss speaks to him about it (so if he wants him to move offices then he will have to make the effort to have a meeting with him and discuss this PLUS the bonuses)

Oblomov Mon 11-Aug-08 09:20:56

It all sounds like reasons to be concerned, I think. My dh keeps working for smallish firms that have poor organisation.
I think your dh sounds far too laid back.
However, lets not panic just yet. Step by step.
You need to be calm, and try not to worry. You need to talk to dh tonight and make suggestions of what to do, when to do it:
talk to his boss. Send an e-mail. Then its in writing. Request a response by certain date. If not go to his boss. Can just make an enquiry with Hr as to what the payment date expected is. This can be done alongside talks with boss. Talk to boss/HR as to whether they are going to re-imburse him for extra cost re moving. I bet they won't. Because if they were the kind of company that would pay, they would have discussed this all with him, and arranged it properly, ages ago.
But dh must be happy with all of these and agree that he is going to do this.

If not, this could all fall apart.

2point4kids Mon 11-Aug-08 09:29:18

Thank you. This advice is all very helpful.

I think you are right regarding them not paying for the extra travel costs.
To be honest, as long as the bonuses are sorted out DH is prepared to be a bit flexible about the office move (as long as they discuss it with him properly rather than just telling him by email!).
He says that he will agree to move offices if they agree to him working 2 days a week from home. He currently works from home one day a week/fortnight and is doing a lot of project work where he actually gets more done at home without the distractions of the office.
I dont know what he will do if they dont agree to that!

He is hopeful he will be able to speak to his boss today now, so will see what comes of the meeting!

flowerybeanbag Mon 11-Aug-08 19:34:16

Hope the meeting went well 2point4. I have to say it sounds as though your DH is being waaaaaayy too laid back about this.

it should not have got as far as missing 3 bonuses. If they are written into his contract, he should have been up in arms when the first one didn't arrive and demanding a meeting to discuss it and resolve the issue.

it sounds as though he is being taken advantage of generally because he doesn't make as much fuss as others would (and should).

As it's a big company I expect they will have something in the contract/handbook about working from other offices and will quite possibly also have a policy for reimbursement of mileage over and above normal when temporarily working elsewhere. If he can't find a policy on it he needs to ask what the arrangements are in this type of situation.

I would normally always advise discussing problems with line managers first rather than going to HR unless that's necessary, as managers often don't like feeling as though people have gone over their head, and it can sometimes not help at all.

I think your DH needs to be extremely firm with his boss, no more Mr Laid Back, he needs to come away from conversations with dates and actions not waffle and being fobbed off. If a very firm conversation doesn't work, he should have a chat with someone in HR.

2point4kids Tue 12-Aug-08 18:21:13

Thank you Flowery.

The meeting did well in part.
He agreed to work in the alternative office and his boss agreed to him working 2 days at home plus all extra travel expenses to be paid for by the company, so that all seems fine.

The boss has said that the first quarter bonus is sorted and DH will receive letter and money this week (we will see!). Quarter 2 bonus apparently is still under discussion as there are 'problems' with it in general.
Doesnt sound good to me, but we are waiting till the the first lot of money goes in this week and then DH will question further.

Thanks for all the advice.

flowerybeanbag Tue 12-Aug-08 19:11:09

Well that does sound a bit more positive. Different office and working at home arrangements sound good.

Although bonus stuff still not brilliant, just having more communication and more information is much better. Saying letter and money coming this week is something concrete rather than fobbing-off waffle, and gives him something to chase up if necessary.

It does sound as though it's a more general problem with the bonuses probably difficulties that they were hoping to avoid communicating to employees if possible. So that's not good news in itself but being more informed is much better, and also less taken advantage of as well.

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