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Started by hairysaddlebags on Jun 25, 2020 9:16:15 AM
Have I been made an offer I can't refuse?

I had one of a series of ongoing meetings yesterday with head of HR and head of department. I've been asking about the possibility of stepping down a level as I'm finding my current role too stressful (I should point out that I suffer from anxiety and depression and have had quite a bit of time off in the last year and a half)

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hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 09:24:09 (#1 of 188)

So yesterday I went in to the meeting with the expectation I was going to say yes to stepping down at the reduced salary they were offering and with the agreed responsibilities. However, my company then said they wanted a "protected" (off the record) discussion where they have offered me a form of pseudo redundancy. This was accompanied by them stressing that if I dropped down from my senior role and found I was still unable to perform my reduced duties, I would be put on a performance management process.

Now, I had asked about the possibility of voluntary redundancy in an earlier (due to the whole covid-19 thing) and was told emphatically at that time that that was not an option as no staff are being laid off.

Basically, are the company saying "take this payoff and go quietly, or we'll manage you out the door?"

nemo75 - 25 Jun 2020 09:28:23 (#2 of 188)

Yes.

nemo75 - 25 Jun 2020 09:30:37 (#3 of 188)

Is the offer comparable with what you’d expect from a voluntary exit scheme?

Moschops - 25 Jun 2020 09:42:24 (#4 of 188)

Any scope for turning it round and saying "If you want me to go quietly, this is what it'll cost"?

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 09:45:56 (#5 of 188)

"Is the offer comparable with what you’d expect from a voluntary exit scheme?"

It's very slightly better, but no so much as makes a difference. It would basically give me 6 months wages.

To be honest, I don't want to leave. Getting a new job paying a similar salary would be nigh on impossible at the moment given my state of mind and my sickness record over the last year. It would be a lot easier for me to continue doing something I'm very familiar with (I've been with the company nearly 13 years).

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 09:47:15 (#6 of 188)

This is all complicated by the fact that I split up with my long term partner last year and bought her out of the equity in my house, which has left me with a large mortgage and large monthly repayments.

nemo75 - 25 Jun 2020 09:51:32 (#7 of 188)

Really sorry to hear that. Do you think you can perform in the role given the recent break up and everything else?

Sorry I’m being blunt here, but I think it’s better than tiptoeing around things.

tasselhoff - 25 Jun 2020 09:57:39 (#8 of 188)

Would selling the house and downsizing to a mortgage-free property help your state of anxiety? That way you wouldn't need to stress about maintaining a similar level of income.

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 09:59:02 (#9 of 188)

I think if it weren't for the lockdown I would have no problem performing the role.

I'm working from home at the moment and that is having a negative effect on my productivity, but I think that negative effect would have occurred anyway even if everything else was great. I find permanently working from home uncomfortable. It makes it so much harder to communicate with people. Whereas before if someone had an issue or a question I'd just scoot round to their desk and sort it out, now it takes so much longer over messaging services or video calls.

Agaliarept - 25 Jun 2020 10:17:59 (#10 of 188)

This sounds like a horrible corner you're in hairy.

I tend to agree with Mos that you should at least try to leverage something back in your favour if you're doing them favour by accepting redundancy.

The thing is with a disciplinary exit, is they take time. An employer has to be able to prove they gave you every chance to meet their performance targets and supported you fully in getting you to where they think they should be. There are many steps and anything done incorrectly, or out of order can jeopardise the whole process. Which would leave them at risk of a tribunal.

Though I fully accept this depends on your employer not riding roughshod over disciplinary rules and you having enough energy to fight them all the way out the door and after if need be.

It sounds like that might be more than you have the energy to do at the minute but I think Mos's post is worth considering.

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 10:21:05 (#11 of 188)

"Would selling the house and downsizing to a mortgage-free property help your state of anxiety? That way you wouldn't need to stress about maintaining a similar level of income."

That is an option I'm thinking about.I'm not sure I've got enough equity in the house to make that a viable option. I guess I need to get an estate agent in to do a valuation.

One thing that complicates selling the house is that we got ripped off by cowboy builders who landscaped our garden and did a really bad job (walls made of sleepers sagging and bowing), so I may need to get the whole garden fixed before the house is in a saleable condition (which would wipe out all my current savings).

nemo75 - 25 Jun 2020 10:23:47 (#12 of 188)

Don’t rely on a tribunal. The case fees are substantial and it will take months to get a resolution, even if they find in your favour.

NotNixerNoMore - 25 Jun 2020 10:29:05 (#13 of 188)

Could you get a lodger in the short to medium term? Might give you a bit of financial breathing space whilst you work out what to do about the house.

Avonlea - 25 Jun 2020 10:38:49 (#14 of 188)

This may be a little frank, so jump over it if you're not in that headspace, Hairy.

I've lots of experience here from the employer's side and being realistic, it's deeply unlikely that you will still be working there in a year's time. If your performance is such that they're offering you a compromise agreement, you'd have to perform remarkably well to turn that around, not just return to your previous standard of work. It's almost certainly in your interests to go for a paid exit instead of hanging on to be performance managed out which will be soul-destroying and much less financially advantageous.

Your best bet is to explain to them in some detail that you have been unwell and that has impacted on your current performance and will continue to impact on your ability to find a new job. Say that on that basis, you're willing to consider it but given your health, lockdown and the state of the economy, 6 months is unlikely to give you long enough. They will probably increase the offer rather than backtrack.

Three things you need to know, presuming you're in England or Wales:

1. the first £30k of the settlement will be tax free;

2. they will pay you in lieu of your notice period so that will be part of your settlement (that bit will be taxed as normal); and

3. your employer is obliged to pay for you to take independent legal advice. Depending on location they're likely to offer £300-500 for legal fees.

Please go to your GP if you haven't already and make sure that you are getting as much help as possible with your mental health. That will be crucial for handling this process.

Shadrack22 - 25 Jun 2020 10:53:05 (#15 of 188)

Are you in a trades union? They can be useful in negotiating an exit package.

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 10:54:35 (#16 of 188)

No trade union I'm afraid.

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 11:01:44 (#17 of 188)

The thing is, in my yearly evaluations, I've never got less than a 'performing' grade, even last year, I would have got an above performing grade were it not for periods of illness.

So the only thing that's been affecting my performance rating is the amount of time I've been ill. When I'm in work, my performance has been fine.

Agaliarept - 25 Jun 2020 11:05:26 (#18 of 188)

So the only thing that's been affecting my performance rating is the amount of time I've been ill.

Hmmmm. I'm not sure that sounds legit.

hairysaddlebags - 25 Jun 2020 11:16:33 (#19 of 188)

Sorry Agaliarept, I don't follow what you're saying

Agaliarept - 25 Jun 2020 11:24:08 (#20 of 188)

Sorry Agaliarept, I don't follow what you're saying

Sorry not being flippant hairy.

I've experience of both administering disciplinary procedures and being on the receiving end.

Pretty sure you can't mix sickness and performance.

If your sickness isn't being managed properly (not letting them know, not providing dr's notes where applicable, avoiding return to work meetings) then that's an issue that you could be disciplined for.

I'm not aware of a process where someone is legitimately off sick from work and they get disciplined over their performance. If, as you say, the only issue with their performance is driven by sickness.

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