-1

TL;DR

I have had raises but no updated contract/official documentation, only communications via Slack.


A little background: I have been working at this company for around 9 months now and in that time I have been offered two raises and a bonus. I got offered the job through my line manager because he is a friend of the family I got chatting to about looking to switch jobs last December. The company is very small <10 full-time employees, it has been going for around 7 years and is doing really well.

Raise 1: when I joined the company I asked for X and it was accepted. X is written in my original contract. A few months later I noticed my tax code changed (UK) and I had a little dig around and it's because I moved into the next tax bracket for the year so they needed to recoup, this turns out to be because I'm actually being paid X+~7% (they basically rounded up). I immediately contacted the founder (who handles pay) and told him the mistake and he turns around and says "Oh I thought that was what we agreed! Take it as a bonus/pay raise for doing so well." Great! I thank him and ask him to email me confirmation of this with a new contract. He sends one across on Slack. I have repeated my request multiple times with no luck, he says he will and never does! NB: It's a permanent pay raise, back dated to the start of my employment. He called it a bonus/raise in the messages though.

Raise 2: Typically Christmas raise (but very substantial) and the offer of a bonus (no mention how much). That was just before Christmas and I haven't heard much else or had an updated contract/confirmation via email of the bonus.

Knowing my company, my next paycheck will have the raise and the bonus will just appear in my account at some point (possibly added onto my paycheck).

I'm concerned about the future. They are looking to sell the company at some point and I am worried that someone will try and "reclaim" this money.


My question is: Is there anything else I can do, outside of continuing to ask for the proper documentation?

Do the slack messages (all of which I have screen grabbed and saved externally) combined with my pay checks which clearly state how much I have been given, constitute as enough evidence that I was legitimately given the additional money by the company?

P.S. we have no HR

  • This has been voted as off topic - "Questions require a goal that we can address. Rather than explaining the difficulties of your situation, explain what you want to do to make it better." - to be clear I'm concerned about the future. They are looking to sell the company at some point and I am worried that someone will try and "reclaim" this money. I.e. I would like advice on ways to mitigate this risk and ultimately be able to rest easy knowing this won't happen – Bee Jan 15 at 15:05
  • 1
    IMO, as long as you have the terms in writing (even if just over slack), that's all you really need. – Kaz Jan 16 at 13:35
3

At the end of the day a contract is just a signed piece of paper in which the parties agree to something that can be legally enforced at a later date (technically it doesn't even have to be on paper but that is preferable). There is nothing stopping you simply printing out (preferably on letterhead paper if such exists)

As of [date], [your name]'s salary is £X (your new salary) per year.

Signed

__________

and handing it to the founder. It's possible they'll sign it without question in which case yay contract. If not, explain your concerns now and for the future and say it would really put your mind at ease if you had this signed document for your files. If he still refuses to sign that is a red flag and you may need to do something more drastic (contacting a lawyer etc).

  • 1
    Good idea, I'd prefer not to get layers involved if possible and drafting out something which just confirms everything that has been discussed over slack and getting it signed. You hit the nail on the head with "put [my] mind at ease" that's exactly the outcome I want! – Bee Jan 15 at 14:58
  • It's not true that a contract is just a signed piece of paper - the paper is evidence of a contract, but the real contract will have stuff put there or removed by law and can change over time. Simply working according to new conditions without protest can change an employment contract in the UK. A written change is obviously far better, but OP shouldn't simply repay without legal help if there ever is a claim that it was a mistake sometime later. – Alex Hayward Jan 19 at 9:46
2

I immediately contacted the founder (who handles pay) and told him the mistake and he turns around and says "Oh I thought that was what we agreed!

You should have done so in writing over email (or over Slack maybe).

But no worries, you can still memorialize the conversation retroactively.

This message is to memorialize our conversation from two days ago:

According to you, the ~7% increase, and potential overpayment in my pay, was not made in mistake. Or even if it could be considered a mistake because of my original contract, you told me to consider the new amount a well earned added pay raise.

In other words, this new amount overrides and supersedes the pay increase originally envisioned in my original contract. To which, I am extremely grateful. Thank you again.

Please keep a copy of this memorandum for your records.

  • It's a permanent pay raise, back dated to the start of my employment. He called it a bonus in the messages though – Bee Jan 16 at 11:28
  • 1
    Play humble and think humble. You have no idea what is going on in your CEO's head. "Knowing my company, my next paycheck will have the raise and the bonus will just appear in my account at some point (possibly added onto my paycheck). " - When you receive your paychecks one with bonus/ the other with raise. Thank him for x bonus and y raise in an email. – paulj Jan 16 at 13:02
  • @Stephan it's a really good call, I know I need to put my interests first, I just also want to tread carefully as it's such a close knit company and email tends to never be used – Bee Jan 16 at 14:15
  • @Stephan, this is for raise #1. I was being overpaid and he told me basically that I could keep everything I was being overpaid as he thought that's the contract we agreed on and that I'd continue to be paid at that rate – Bee Jan 16 at 14:29
  • @Stephan I get the main idea of your answer! – Bee Jan 16 at 14:33
0

Do the slack messages (all of which I have screen grabbed and saved externally) combined with my pay checks which clearly state how much I have been given, constitute as enough evidence that I was legitimately given the additional money by the company?

Any proof of communication with your manager(s) where they agree that the money transferred are according to agreement will help.

Also, any proof of communication in which they admit that there will be no modification in the contract will help too.

On the other hand, paychecks will not help at all. Anyone can claim that there was a mistake, and the paycheck was printed containing the error. They might even go to the length to re-print the paychecks, with the error removed.


The entire situation also depends on the specific laws. It might be a better solution, if you think that the future will not be happy, to consider switching jobs - although I guess you are not really at high risk.

Worst case, you can switch jobs when the company is sold, before they find out (IF they find out) that the money you received are not according to the written contract.

However, I am not familiar with the laws, so it is possible that the new company might be able to come after the money even if you leave. That is why I wrote that you need to get as much proof as possible about the manager(s) agreeing to the higher pay, even though the contract is not updated to reflect that.


Asking the advice of a lawyer might be a good idea too, so you can prepare now for anything that might happen in the future.

  • Your answer seems to imply that the money can not be recouped by the company if I am working elsewhere, do you have a source for that? – Bee Jan 15 at 13:26
  • That is where the "The entire situation also depends on the specific laws." kicks in. Depending on the amount of money, the company might choose different actions, after you left the company. – virolino Jan 15 at 13:32
  • Then I'm afraid I'm unsure whether this qualifies as an answer, sorry! – Bee Jan 15 at 13:35
  • Well, I think it qualifies. Especially if you read carefully the paragraphs where I wrote some emphasized (bold) text. – virolino Jan 15 at 13:53
  • 1
    I did not get you wrong, do not worry. You might want to ask the moderators to move your question to law.stackexchange.com, where people are more knowledgeable about these kinds of issues. – virolino Jan 16 at 9:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.