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At my last place we had a bonus scheme based on performance. If you met all of your targets for the year the bonus was 5% of your base salary. If you exceeded all of your targets for the year the bonus was 7% of your base salary. The scheme ran from the months June-June which meant that anyone who is employed from June to June the following year, providing that their performance was good, was entitled to a bonus. Despite the fact I was leaving at the end of July, I was under the presumption I'd receive my bonus and was even told verbally that I would get it, however, I never did.1

Since the performance meeting took place after the 25th (pay day) then I presumed that the bonus should come in the next pay day (since that's what I was told), which would also be my final salary payment from the company. I mostly worked all of July, I left a few days before the final salary payment was due, and to my surprise when I checked my payslip the bonus was not there.

Since I had already had many issues with the company at this point, I did not feel like or rather, I did not have the energy to argue this and I'm not overly concerned about the money. I am just wondering what the legality of this is? Was I entitled to that bonus? Or is it ultimately down to director discretion? I'm really interested in the legalities of workplace bonuses since they do not seem to be guaranteed like salary.


I appreciate that perhaps I should've got this in writing, however, I did not expect I would have to. The contract clearly states that an employee is entitled to that bonus if they meet their targets - as mentioned I did. In-fact, I even have a copy of my performance review document which shows in clear text that I met all of the targets thus as per the employment contract I should receive that 5% bonus.

As a further aside: it's possible that in regards to the performance section of the contract when it comes to bonuses that the contract also stated that the bonus also relied upon the companies performance for that financial year, unfortunately I can't quite remember if it did mention that or not.

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It depends on your employment contract

If it’s part of your contract that you get a bonus if certain conditions are fulfilled then, if they are, you are legally entitled to it. If it isn’t part of the contract then it is at the employer’s discretions.

Note that your contract may include non-written terms that were agreed at the time of or after employment

  • This is pretty much what I thought. I just wanted to reaffirm this point, I guess. My understanding was this; if it is part of my contract that it's based on individual performance alone and I met my targets, I am entitled to it. If however, the bonus is based on individual performance and the companies financial performance then I could theoretically not get a bonus if they feel they did not do well enough. I guess as a further note to this question. If the latter point is true and I could somehow prove that it was only me that did not get one, I'd have a pretty valid case, I guess. – J.J Oct 16 at 19:33

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