T 020 8290 0440 Call us on 020 8290 0440  |  Email us  |  Request a call back

Open Close

Employment Law Advice — Employees

Employee Benefits & Bonus Disputes

Do you have a dispute with your employer about pay or an unpaid bonus?  Our experienced solicitors regularly advise clients who have received shortfalls in the pay, commissions or bonuses they were expecting.

Bonus payments offered to employees in addition to a basic salary can act as a useful incentive to reward strong performance and increase motivation amongst the workforce.  However, disputes can arise regarding the implementation and operation of some bonus schemes, whether those schemes are:

  • Contractual – forming part of the employees’ terms and conditions of employment; or
  • Non-contractual - with any payments being confirmed in writing as entirely discretionary.

Contractual bonuses

Some bonuses are calculated using a simple (or, in some cases, complex) formula and are clearly set out in writing in a contract of employment or a separate contractual bonus scheme.

Where an employer fails to pay a bonus in accordance with the terms of a contractual bonus scheme, its employees will be able to pursue a claim against them for breach of contract or unlawful deduction from wages, depending upon the wording of the scheme.

Discretionary bonuses

The majority of bonuses are non-contractual in that it is clearly set out in writing that they do not form part of an employee’s terms and conditions of employment, with any payments made under the scheme stated to be paid at the employer’s absolute discretion.

Breach of discretionary bonuses terms are more difficult claims to pursue.  However, the courts have been willing to place certain limits on the exercise of discretion by employers in bonus schemes by applying concepts of reasonableness, implying contractual terms and making use of implied terms such as the duty of mutual trust and confidence.

Claims for breach of contract and unlawful deductions from wages may therefore still be open to aggrieved employees to pursue if they have not received a bonus that they otherwise expected to receive.

Let us help

Our expert team of specialist employment law solicitors can advise you of the merits of your bonus claim and work effectively to help you claim back an unpaid bonus by corresponding with your employer, attempting to negotiate and settle your claims amicably, or (if necessary)