Question:  My current employer had enrolled me for a medical plan that is due to expire in 2 days. I start at my new employment end of this month. According to contract with new employer(the bank) that I have already signed, I will be on probation for first 3 months. Also according to that contract the medical benefits are available only after probation period. I am a family man with two small kids – 3 and 1. As you can imagine there is no way I can consider staying in Hong Kong without medical insurance for  technically 3.5 months.

So exploring my alternatives, here are my options as I look at them –
  1. Continue my current insurance by extending it for another year(as its a annual policy). The current insurance is quite expensive I must say.
  2. Explore another cheaper insurance.
  3. Negotiate with my new employer to reduce or waive off my probation period so that I am insured as soon as I join the new company. This language is already in the contract(Your first three months’ service will be of a probationary nature.  The Company may, however, waive, reduce or extend the probation period at its discretion.)
As you can imagine, I would like to achieve option no. 3 but at the same time I am bit concerned by couple of things –
  1. Do I have any negotiation power left considering I already signed the contract and resigned from current employer.
  2. I have not had enough chance to build strong enough relationship on which I could make a stronger case.
  3. I don’t want to be viewed negatively in any way at this sensitive stage with new employer.

I brought up the situation to the new company HR in the past not being as specific as I am in this note and also I have not yet pointed out the option of waive off of probationary period. He said, he will revert but has not yet reverted so I need to speak with him on Monday to negotiate some situation.

Any opportunity you can guide me on this. I have to do something by monday so the window of time is really short.  Thank you in advance.
Best Regards,
Ameesh

negotiate contractAmeesh,  here is my advice.  Based on your email, I assumed you didn’t realize this until after you signed the contract with the new company.   Your best bet is to pursue option 2 and 3 at the same time.  Research cheaper insurance as a back up and talk to your new employer and see if they can start it as soon as you start.

I would approach it humbly and appeal to their human side.  Admit you should have read the contract more carefully and hope they can help since you are now in a difficult situation and you want to protect your family.  Not sure how they will respond, but this is your best bet.  Companies do want to make their employees happy in general especially when they first join.

Now realize you don’t have leverage since you signed the contract first, so don’t blame them if they don’t agree.  Just do you best to be humble and ask for what you need.

Even if they say yes, you still have a gap of health insurance between now and end of March.  It’s unlikely for them to start you any sooner than your first day of work.   so you should also explore option 2 for the gap.  Assuming your wife and kids are pretty healthy, you can potentially gamble with a high deduction plan at a reasonable rate.  This is obviously up to you and your situation.   If option 3 does not work out, you have to decide how much risk you can take with a cheaper insurance vs how much you can spend to cover your family adequately.

Hope that helps.

Lei

One Thought on “How to Re-Negotiate Benefits After Signing an Employment Contract

  1. Hi Lei, thank a lot for a quick reply and good advice. Really appreciate. I shall explore various options as you pointed. With my current employer my oppurtunity lies in the fact that my last working day with them is till 27th and since my insurance expires now, they should pay to extend till 27th. Of course they can cancel with that date. I will request them to extend for next 2 months because the cancellation charges are same in first 2 months.

    Thanks Lei again for your quick and good advice. Have a great weekend.

    Ameesh

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