If I think that my bonus has not been paid, what do I do?

Most employers’ bonus schemes are carefully worded, described as non-contractual and discretionary. It is not unknown for employers when describing the circumstances in which a bonus will be paid to add that the ‘employers’ decision is final’.


There is ample Case Law to support the position that where an employer operates a discretionary bonus scheme an employee is entitled to a bona fide and rational exercise of that discretion by the employer. Although discretion is exactly that a Court will not interfere with its exercise just because it may have arrived at a different decision, nevertheless the Court will interfere if it can be said that there was little or no proper foundation for making the decision. Therefore, if an employer has paid a certain level of bonus during profitable years and subsequently fails to do so after an improvement in its financial position then this may be open to challenge by employees.


Whether the claim will succeed or not will depend upon the evidence available. There needs to be careful consideration before a challenge is made.


Employment law is notoriously complex and fast changing. At WSP Solicitors we have wide-ranging experience, case expertise and tactical insight to help you understand and apply it. For employment law advice or to discuss your personal circumstances please call 01453 847200.


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