woman with caption 'When I told everyone I was gonna quit my job but found out I'd have to pay back $47,000 if I leave'


‘You owe a bonus? That’s a thing?’: Woman says she can’t quit job unless she pays employer $47,000

'I'm being held hostage.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Jan 9, 2023

A worker on TikTok claims she can’t leave her current job unless she can pay back a $47,000 relocation package and sign-on bonus to the company she works for.

The video posted by user Madi (@madi__mckenzie), whose content revolves around financial literacy, has drawn over 417,000 views on TikTok. Many viewers were confused about how she ended up owing her employer that much money. The Daily Dot has reached out to her via email regarding the video.

“When I told everyone I was going to quit my job but found out I’d have to pay back $47,000 if I leave,” a text overlay on the video reads.

Madi added in the caption, “I’m being held hostage.”

@madi__mckenzie im being held hostage 😃😃😃😃😄 #corporatelife #projectmanagementtiktok #techtok #workingintech #workfromhome #wfh #personalfinance #genzfinance #relocation ♬ original sound – princessazula0

In a follow-up video, Madi explains that the high amount is due to a relocation package, which she was paid to move her five hours away for her new job. She says she had been hired for a remote position but was later required to work in the office a set number of days per week.

“These moving companies charge an exorbitant amount of money to these corporate companies,” she says. “It pisses me off so much.”

Viewers expressed that they were confused as to why a company would approve an amount that high for a relocation package. The poster indicated in her comment section that around $4,500 of the $47,000 total was her sign-on bonus, with the other $42,500 going toward her relocation.

“Confused on how it cost 47k to move and what company would approve that lol,” one commenter wrote.

“How does that work and how is that allowed? (i’m not american)” another user said.

“YOU OWE A BONUS? THATS A THING?” a third questioned.

Others shared their experiences of staying with companies solely because they did not want to pay back hiring bonuses or relocation fees—or turning them down outright so they would not be tied to the company.

“This is why I turned down tuition reimbursement because y’all not about to have me stuck no where,” one user shared.

“My relocation was 56k and if I left before the two years I had to pay it….Thank the lord the 2 years was up on the 28th of last month…too stressful,” another wrote.

“Me right now because my job paid $1000 of my student loans but if I leave before 2 years from the last payment I gotta pay it back ,” a further TikToker claimed.

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*First Published: Jan 9, 2023, 10:57 am CST