I´m located in Germany. Four years ago, I started a master program next to work which ended two years ago. The cost for the program was $50k of which I paid half, and the other half was paid by my employer. For this support, I had to sign a commitment-agreement or retention-agreement (not sure of the right English word) which states that I must pay back the money my employer paid if I leave the company earlier than four years after finishing the education.
While I was and am grateful for the support, I do have the feeling that this agreement is used over its original purpose. Before I started the education, several possibilities of what I could do after it were discussed of which none then actually happened. There were some other smaller issues but probably most important for me, there weren´t any improvements in salary, which was already low before I started the education. I feel that the company might think that I don´t need salary increases since I´m not going to leave because of the agreement.
This has made me unhappy to the point where I had a lawyer look into the agreement coming to the clear conclusion that it is legally void due to several legal issues/mistakes in the agreement. Legally I wouldn´t have to pay back anything if I left. I want to communicate this information to my employer.
How do I say this without being offensive? I do want to communicate that I am not forced to stay under any conditions (due to the fear of having to pay back thousands of dollars) and that I can leave the company at any point in time just as other employees and therefore expect an appropriate salary.
On the other hand, as currently I just want to push for better (normal) conditions and do not want to leave the company, I would like to avoid a reaction where the company understands that I do want to leave with not paying anything which would quickly result in a bad situation.
Thank you for reading!