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I'll start by saying i'm not sure this is the right place to ask this but i really need a second opinion on this.

I've worked for a french software consulting company for nealry 5 years now, all of it on a single mission, for a single client (there's a convention that allow that sort of long term consulting).

Early this year, i have asked for a "Rupture conventionelle", a mutually agreed termination that gives you a minimal severance pay and access to unemployment from the State. (I want to use a recent rule change that let people get unemployment while they self-employ to start a personnal project)

I was told by my mission manager that yes, that could be done. But at the end of the year. Okay, i have a verbal agreement. I knew they would want to get more money by keeping me in the client's office. I'm waiting. Speed up to August, i'm asking for more info on when that would be done. End of year, ok. But my mission manager left in the meantime and the HR lead now tells me that they want this to be cash-neutral for them, so the company would "buy-back" a few of my vacations days in order to recoup the loss from the severance pay. So that would mean i woulf go to work at the client office, declare to my SSII that i was on vacation. They get twice the money and put aside half of it for my severance.

So, i'm a bit miffed. First because it's illegal to do so. And then because for me it would mean losing a few (i was told around 5) free days. But i get told that it's the way it's done. And in the end it's only 5 days and i would get time to work on my dream project. I loose some sleep over the thing but i agree.

Speed up to now. I get told that they realised that the severance pay (the minimum defined by law) is bigger than expected. So they want to do a "vacation-buy" for 20 days and to report the leaving-day by one full month.

And now i'm getting really annoyed. First because it's more of something that seems immoral to me. Then It's so much more days, it would impact my own pay (because at that rate, i will have to take unpaid vacations, so i'd take my severance out of my own pockets) Finally, there's the point of that calculation. When we talked and ended with a 6k € severance package, my HR lead told me that would go to around 5 days. That makes sens because as a consultant i'm sold for a very high daily cost to the end client.

But the final amount they had to justify 20 days was 7k€, which is not that much more.

Plus, from my point of view they already got a whole load of money from the client by telling to leave at the end of the year instead of this summer. And would get even more by getting one more month of delay.

Finally, but i don't like that line, i'm thinking that if i decided to ask for a termination and just stopped working, i would cost them 12+k€ for nothing. Or i could just stop doing stuff, not ask for a termination and then wait. That would get me unemployment but no severance if it worked, and could cost them more.

So i'm very torn on this, i'm not sure what way i should go, they know i really REALLY want this conventional severage and i feel they are exploiting my non-conflict personnality. (It's to the point i'm heavily underpayed compared to colleagues with similar background)

To ask the actual question, what can i do to get better terms ? My goal is to leave as soon as possible, with unemployment benefits.

ps: I also have received an informal offer from my client to go "internal" (cease to be a consultant and become a full employee) and consulting firms positively hate when it happens. But i have not mentioned it to my HR lead.

p-ps: I know i have been an idiot for not getting it signed before. Now i realise they had such an arrangement in mind i know why they wouldn't want to sign earlier.

  • What price do your ethics and morals go for? Are you upset because they asked you to do something illegal, or because you're being asked to do something illegal and you feel you should be paid more for doing so? – PeteCon Oct 30 '19 at 14:25
  • Hmmm ... I definitely don't think much about getting paid for it. If i could get the status i want, i would gladly throw the severance pay away. But you're onto something, i could overlook 5 days, and now it's 20 and a delay it bothers me. Doesn't look very good for my integrity. – SerAlister XVIIth Oct 30 '19 at 14:41
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I think really you need to talk to a lawyer. As far as negotiation goes, they have demonstrated willingness to completely screw you over, and even the law won't stop them. There is nothing that should make you think that anything you can do short of legal action can make them change that.

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IMHO, you should look up for number 1 - you.

I wouldn't trust your current employer to uphold the deal, given they reneged several times on verbal agreements.

As for going internal at the client - you need to check local labor laws and your current contract, but to me it seems as best possible resolution.

Good luck and please keep us posted

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