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Can my employer withhold a promised bonus?
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# 1
David Finch
Old 16-04-2013, 1:59 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Default Can my employer withhold a promised bonus?

Hi all.

I'm in a fortunate position where I may be told that my employer plans to give me a bonus. Unfortunately I don't plan to stay much longer with the employer.
I obviously want to receive the bonus and don't feel bad about leaving once it's received. A bonus is a reward for past work done well and not for future work as far as I am concerned.
I'm not quite sure when to hand in my notice though. To be safe, I was planning to wait till it had cleared in my account, but things are dire and I want to leave sooner. I'm concerned I may be told that for cash-flow reasons I won't receive the bonus for several months, which I don't wish to work.
If I give my notice after the bonus has been verbally given, but before it's received, does my employer still have to pay it?
What is the law on this? The Manual for Employee's relates to a separate document on bonuses that doesn't appear to exist.
I'm concerned that if I ask my employer questions, they will guess what I'm thinking and not offer me the bonus at all.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
David
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# 2
Bobl
Old 16-04-2013, 2:15 PM
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Unless it is a contractual bonus, which it doesn't sound like, your employer can pull it at any point up to when it reaches your account. So if you want to be totally sure you will have to wait until it clears before handing in your notice.

An interesting point about bonuses and what they are for, in my opinion they are for past performance but also to motivate employees to continue to perform, I wouldn't pay a bonus if I thought an employee was about to leave. However, not much they can do once they pay it and you resign.
Life is too short to drink bad wine!
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# 3
Acc72
Old 16-04-2013, 2:25 PM
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Have a reead around some threads on this board - there are a number of recent examples where an employee has resigned and have lost their bonus.
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# 4
Okydoky25
Old 16-04-2013, 2:30 PM
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I accepted redundancy from my company in the Oct and our if the blue I received a payment which turned out to be part of an annual bonus which was a nice surprise I've never heard of this before.
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# 5
David Finch
Old 16-04-2013, 2:35 PM
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Thank you both for your posts.

Bobl - I do, to some extent, agree with your definition of a bonus. It is a motivation to continue to perform, as if you do so, you may be again similarly rewarded in the future.

In short, I guess I will have to wait to hear if I get one, and if so, decide whether the amount warrants however long I will have to wait to receive it.
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# 6
pawsies
Old 16-04-2013, 2:44 PM
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Also consider whether you need a reference from this employer as if they see you as a money grabber they'll probably reflect badly on you.
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# 7
David Finch
Old 16-04-2013, 3:05 PM
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I know it will annoy them when they get my notice a few days after the bonus and I'm sure it means they won't give a good reference. However , the company shows resentment to anyone who has left and all previous references have reflected that.
One of the many reasons I want out.
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