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#jobs-discuss
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2022-06-17
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val_waeselynck09:06:06

Hi folks, Frenchy considering joining a US company here, I wonder if some of you could help me with interpreting the terms and conditions. I'm reading "2080 hours per year, with Paid Time Off at 10% of the salary and health insurance costs." Please check my math: 1. assuming 8 jours per day, 2080 hours would be 5 days per week for all 52 weeks of a year; 2. from which I could take 10% as paid time off, so a little more than 5 weeks per year. Did I understand correctly? Are those numbers looking reasonable to you? Thanks!

mpenet09:06:08

difficult to say. You will have to pay taxes where you live, so you need to account for this, health insurance costs can vary wildly or be non-existent depending on where you live as well, that doesn't mean that can be accounted for easily either. For days off you need to understand if that means bank holidays where you live or where they are located, if they are counted in these days off, if you can choose when to take them (to some level). The hours count seems off, you likely don't want to work 5 days per week for the whole year, unless they count holidays in that ("payed time off")

mpenet10:06:13

If they do not have a branch where you are located you basically have to add a lot of extras (pension/health/accounting/job-insurance/some-taxes, etc etc)

mpenet10:06:11

"Paid Time Off at 10% of the salary and health insurance costs." not sure what that means

val_waeselynck11:06:46

@U050SC7SV they are planning on employing me as a contractor

dpsutton13:06:21

To me that reads that the time you take off is unspecified but they will pay you 10% of your rate for that time not the regular rate

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Martynas M13:06:43

Did they specify how many hours per millenium? Also do they pay after each year?

val_waeselynck13:06:37

What bothers me is not having clarity on how many days of vacation I can expect to be able take 😕 I wouldn't want to get completely out of sync with my French relatives.

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mpenet13:06:59

It's quite a few red flags imho. It lacks a lot of details

dpsutton13:06:11

I'm not sure red flag territory yet but needs clarification. And if the rate is very low but time off unspecified, just make sure the regular rate on the hours will subsidize it more or less

mpenet13:06:57

You could also suggest to use an intermediary so that things are clearer (société de portage)

val_waeselynck13:06:38

That's an interesting lead @U050SC7SV, thanks. I'm not sure I've got the time to set that up unfortunately 😉

pyr14:06:31

The one we use at Exoscale for French workers works quite well: it's called Umalis

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pyr14:06:19

If I were you I'd focus on getting a daily rate approved, the hourly stuff is a bit of an American exceptionalism

pyr14:06:59

If you go for a daily rate plus an agreement on 227 days that's the usual 252 worked days per year - 25 which gets you where you want to be

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pyr14:06:46

(the benefit of the daily rate also helps ensure it's only valid for standard office hours 5 days a week)

slipset06:06:57

If you’re getting hired as a contractor anyways, I’d suggest you present what you want. So, as a Norwegian, that’s 5 weeks of paid vacation, basically unlimited sick leave, and a 37.5 hour work week.

slipset07:06:29

I believe @U21QNFC5C might have some advice to offer here as well.

joshmiller19:06:05

As an American, the phrasing “PTO at 10% of salary” is odd enough to me that I wonder if it’s not actually a typo for “100%”

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ingesol15:06:16

This deal seems to describe a full year of full time work, similar to a regular employee. Even for a contractor it seems strange to insist on a language that forces you to “reverse engineer” the terms to figure out what it means. For my last 2 remote employers, I have simply asked the questions like: • What happens to my salary if I get sick for 5 days in a month • I take 3 weeks off in June. How much do I get paid on my June salary? Dumbing it down takes away all doubt.

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clj.max06:06:48

+1 for "I have never seen any benefits formulated in this way" in a US contract

clj.max06:06:59

What I'm expecting: • how many hours of work are expected ( 2080) • how many paid vacation days off () • how many sick days off () (these last 2 could be combined) • are they paying for health insurance (?? they mention the word, but I can't tell if they're paying 10% of it or what?)

clj.max06:06:43

with (Paid Time Off at 10% of the salary) and health insurance costs or with Paid Time Off at (10% of the salary and health insurance costs) ?

clj.max06:06:56

Maybe just a really confusing sentence, but I'd ask for clarification and have them explicitly write down all the points above: expected hours (which I'd expect on a weekly/monthly basis but whatever), paid vacation days, paid sick days (those 2 might be folded into 1), are they paying for anything else like insurance.

clj.max06:06:21

It's common for contractors NOT to get any paid days or insurance, and they make up for it with a higher hourly rate.

clj.max06:06:36

Btw 5 weeks off per year is actually quite generous for a US job, I think 2-3 are standard. So the 10% -> 5 weeks might check out, I just haven't seen it formulated like that before.

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adi06:06:20

I'm in sync with @U06V097TP and @U04V5VAUN to negotiate a day rate, and peg it to your context. Also, I'll stress again, please negotiate your terms. Usually these things are boilerplate, which some (maybe) lawyer wrote ages ago and nobody questioned thereafter. All the counterparty really needs is clarity and assurance of terms of service. Give them that, and you're on good footing.

val_waeselynck07:06:08

Hi everyone, thanks for your help. I asked them and they told me my understanding of the sentence (as described in my bullet points) was correct (of course, there is still the risk that they may have misinterpreted said bullet points 😉).

Martynas M07:06:33

> there is still the risk that they may have misinterpreted said bullet points Why should it be your risk if they don't understand what they offer? If you can't understand the offer then you can't agree. If they can't convey the terms then it's a problem. If you constantly have to dig into the details simply to understand then what do they want to move attention from?

val_waeselynck07:06:48

Hey folks, I'm very grateful for your help, but am I correct in sensing a lot of animosity towards potential employers? Don't worry, I'll figure things out with them upfront. I haven't even had a formal offer yet, so there's no reason to complain about lack of detail so far. I'm trying to move forward in a positive process of agreeing on terms and establishing trust, yet it almost sounds like I should already be in a legal battle here 🙂

slipset07:06:16

I think it is prudent whenever entering a contract to clearly understand what you’re entering into. Past experiences (also of others) give you an indication of what questions you might want to have clear answers to.

val_waeselynck07:06:48

Sure; I just don't think it's fair to impugn red flags about questions they haven't even had the opportunity to answer yet. I suspect they have simply never hired contractors for long-term software engineering roles, and so they alluded to the package they use for regular employees. When I described how I expected that to translate to contractor terms, they made no difficulties.

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slipset08:06:29

It’s also important to note that you’re coming from a totally different work culture (in lack of a better word). What you make take for granted as French, might not at all be taken for granted for employers in the US, and vice versa.

clj.max13:06:43

I suspect you're right if this wasn't a formal offer, I somehow had thought it was in the offer text. No reason to suspect foul play, probably just people who aren't used to talking in HR-speak every day.

clj.max13:06:20

I do encourage you to ask explicit questions, ask again if you don't understand, and definitely feel free to negotiate if you value things differently than they do.

clj.max13:06:49

Even when they send you a "formal offer," that's just some guy's PDF export. No reason not to ask for clarification, ask them to change things, etc.

adi10:06:15

IMHO, negotiation of terms---and, of course, good-faith negotiation---is particularly useful because it helps unearth mismatch of expectations (and red flags, if any). The cost of getting into an adverse contract is too high, for individuals. For companies, it's often not even a rounding error. Also, it's worth acknowledging the asymmetry of power balance. The lawyer(s) at the other end don't have an incentive to have your best interests in mind, as a default stance. The terms they write will protect and favour their side to the fullest extent possible. And that's not personal, it's just business. That is why, in your situation, I'd make a counteroffer in terms I know, understand, and want. Then find the meeting ground.

telperion15:06:19

@U06GS6P1N honestly looks like a typo. I’ve hired lots of devs, and I’ve never expressed PTO as a percentages of salary and health insurance costs…. I’d ask for clarification.