If I have a signing bonus paid out at the end of each year of a 3 year contract but resign before the end of the contract, can the employer make me pay back the portion of the bonus that I have not yet received?

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If I have a signing bonus paid out at the end of each year of a 3 year contract but resign before the end of the contract, can the employer make me pay back the portion of the bonus that I have not yet received?

For example I am paid a upfront bonus of x and then received y at the end of each year for 3 years. If I have not received the y for the last 2 years, can they require me to repay that amount?

Asked on August 8, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no general answer to your question, since requiring repayment would be legal, as would be not requiring repayment--it depends entirely on the terms of the bonus agreement (i.e. on what was agreed to between you and your employer). You should review the specific terms of the agreement with an employment law attorney to understand your rights and obligations. That said, generally, if the agreement does not mention or call for repayment, there generally would be no repayment: typically, an obligation to repay money must be spelled out. Again, though, review the agreement in detail with a lawyer.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no general answer to your question, since requiring repayment would be legal, as would be not requiring repayment--it depends entirely on the terms of the bonus agreement (i.e. on what was agreed to between you and your employer). You should review the specific terms of the agreement with an employment law attorney to understand your rights and obligations. That said, generally, if the agreement does not mention or call for repayment, there generally would be no repayment: typically, an obligation to repay money must be spelled out. Again, though, review the agreement in detail with a lawyer.


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