I recently joined a startup. I was promised that I would be payed 6 months advanced salary to join the startup to mitigate the risks of leaving my then job at a very well established company.

I eventually got my advance, however much later than promised. Recently, I have been suspecting foul play and have reasons to believe that they are planning to unfairly terminate my employment. It might happen soon, maybe at the end of 3 or 4 months. Would I be required to return the remaining 2-3 months salary in that case? I personally believe it would be very unfair since I had joined the company on the condition of 6 months advance pay in the first place. This was however mentioned mostly verbally and through chats. The only written record of this is facebook messages.

If it helps, I am from India.

Would I have to return the remaining amount? Or do I have the right to retain the money?

  • Print out the facebook messages and take screenshots. You don't want them disappearing on you. Since you're in India, I can't tell you anything more. I don't know the law over there. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 13 '16 at 8:01
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    Your legal rights and options should be explored with a lawyer or other professional, not the internet. – Lilienthal Apr 13 '16 at 8:05
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    Things like this should be part of your work contract – Tobi o' Bobi Apr 13 '16 at 8:19
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    @user74207 In that case they probably won't let you go until the end of 6 months (if they want to let you go). After all, you have the money already. – Brandin Apr 13 '16 at 8:27
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    Thanks for the opinions. Morally I did not doubt myself. I think my best bet in this case is to consult lawyers. – Paagalpan Apr 13 '16 at 10:06

Read your contract. If your contract says you have to pay the money back, you have to pay it back. If your contract says you don't have to pay the money back, you don't have to pay it back.

As you describe it, the money was given to you expressly to cover your risk in a case like this - you left an established company, and took a risk by joining a new company, and the money was given to you so that in the worst case you would have six months salary. That seems to make the intent clear that you don't have to repay.

The good thing is that you have the money, so to get the money back, the company would have to spend more money to sue you.

  • There isn't anything in the contract about advance payments. The only relevant section I found was where they said that they can terminate my employment for misappropriation of funds. I doubt that the company paying me would count as misappropriation on my part. The second is where they say they can terminate my employment without any reason at a month's notice and in which case 'the Employee shall only be entitled to remuneration that accrues until the end of the Notice Period.' – Paagalpan Apr 13 '16 at 8:14
  • Thanks for the response by the way. I can't upvote it because I dont have enough rep points. – Paagalpan Apr 13 '16 at 9:41
  • I agree with all this, and I think your last sentence pretty much sums up the end situation if the OP says no when they ask. The money was given to protect the OP from exactly this. – Kilisi Apr 13 '16 at 20:47

Assuming that it's not stipulated in writing somewhere on your contract, then yes, they can ask for their money back. But you have no reason I can think of for giving it. They can ask for anything they like.

If they demand it back with threat of legal action, then that's another issue which only a lawyer could help you with.

  • Thanks for the response. That is what I was wondering if I had any obligation to return it to them. – Paagalpan Apr 13 '16 at 9:41
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    Thanks for the response by the way. I can't upvote it because I dont have enough rep points. – Paagalpan Apr 13 '16 at 9:41
  • no worries, I don't care about upvotes. – Kilisi Apr 13 '16 at 19:49

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