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Thread: Changing the way the company sees our bonuses

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    Silver Member Christel's Avatar
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    Changing the way the company sees our bonuses

    Hi there,
    I would like to know what other people think about this. I have an employment contract which specify that we are entitled to get a bonus in July every year, based on the prior 7 months work - they have a formula in which they calculate our billable time vs the income, less some expenses + overtime for the period etc. Then we also get a bonus based on the same principles in December, which obvouisly is a lot less as it only covers 4 months.

    Last week I received an addendum to sign from the boss. This is an extract of the clause re the bonuses:

    Bonus payments are to reward staff for work done, as well as to secure the ongoing services of the
    staff member. Should a staff member receive a bonus, it is on the condition that the staff member
    will remain in the employ of THE COMPANY for the next 6 months. Should the staff member resign, the bonus
    will be repayable pro-rata over the remaining 6 month period.

    Do you think this is fair? Surely the bonus is paid out based on the formula for WORK ALREADY DONE...?
    I mentioned to my boss that I don't think it's fair as we already did the work and that's why we are getting the bonus, then she said that if I refuse to sign the addendum, I might not get a bonus next year. Can this happen?

    Thanks.
    always fear when Christel is near....

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    This is what I think...and I would tell them too...They should go F*ck themselves....using their bonus!

    This is the kind of thing that leads me to accidentally throw people off tall buildings!


    ...

    Ok, Anthony should give you a legal view seeing that I've already given you my immoral view!
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    The contract and one of the reasons for the bonus is to encourage/secure the employment of the employee. It is a reward not salary.
    That as it stands is fair, reasonable and quite common.

    However, if that was not the previous contract term, and this is an attempt to change it, then the game changes. It now constitutes a change to contractual terms, given that the bonus was part of the contract. So saying you might not get a bonus is not so easy.
    This type of management undies the whole aim of motivating, encouraging and rewarding staff.
    I presume they worry or are worried that someone is going to get paid and then quit. (Perhaps the grapevine is saying someone plans to quit?)

    It is bad drafting..if you quit you have to pay over next six months...good luck with that seeing as I will be gone.

    It highlights the importance of clear thinking and strategy when designing remuneration packages, especially bonuses, commissioner structures and such forth.

    On an aside, what floor is your bosses office?
    Welcome back Adrian!
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Christel (13-Dec-13), tec0 (12-Dec-13)

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    Silver Member Christel's Avatar
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    Hello Anthony,
    No, our current contract only say that the company gives two bonuses per year to staff that qualify and depending on the performance of the company. This is a "new" thing and it was just emailed to me to sign (as an addendum to my contract) and when I queried it my boss told me that if I refuse to sign it then I might not get a bonus next year.

    I agree, there might be some other grounds for this. I'm not working at our main offices, so I'm (luckily) not part of the grapevine anymore. I was also wondering how they would enforce the pay back... as they cannot play it off against your leave pay without your permission.

    I also thought that plan of Adrian seems quite attractive... unfortunately our offices is on one level... ground floor... but as they say "a boer maak 'n plan"... and I'm very creative.

    Thanks for all the info.
    always fear when Christel is near....

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    You know, this is what I would do before throwing anybody off the roof. If the new "bonus condition" was sent to you via email I would send a mail in return saying the following:

    Thank you very much for offering to give me a bonus this year but I would rather decline out of principle.

    My great aunt once told me a story about a mother and her 6 year old daughter. The little girl really didn't like eating broccoli so the mother devised a plan; the plan was to promise to buy the little girl a dollhouse for Christmas if she ate her broccoli all year. The little girl detested broccoli but she endured throughout the year, she mixed M&M's into her broccoli, peanut butter, anything, just so that she could get it down and earn that dollhouse. A week before Christmas the mother calls the little girl over and tells her that she has really been a good girl the entire year...but...if she doesn't eat her broccoli for the six months after Christmas that she would take the dollhouse away, piece by piece.

    So the little girl thought about the turn of events and decided that her mother was not playing fair. Her mother told her that she would reward her for eating all her broccoli throughout the year, which she did, but now her mother wants her to pay for the dollhouse for another 6 months. The little girl was bemused by what transpired and wondered whether all adults fail to keep their word. The little girl thought that if one makes a promise you should keep it and not change it just because you feel like it.

    The little girl waited until Christmas day. Her mother placed the beautifully wrapped dollhouse on the dining room table. The little girl was beside herself with joy, she clapped and got up on a chair and ripped all the Christmas paper off the most amazingly exquisite dollhouse that the world had ever seen. She reached out and pushed that amazingly exquisite dollhouse off the table with all her might and it crashed to the floor breaking into hundreds of little pieces. Turning to her mother she said "I don't eat broccoli"

    Now you may think that my great aunt was a silly old bird for telling me this story but there is a moral to the story; If you are not a deep thinking person you would say that the little girl cut off her nose to spite her face, and yes, maybe it is so, but truth be told; the little girl stood up for a principle that her own mother had taught her and that is to keep her word, even if the cost is to spite her own face!

    The nice thing about using storytelling is that you don't say anything directly but you do get the point across...if they are bright enough to read between the lines then they might get it and if they are not bright enough to get it....well...you shouldn't be working for them.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    Christel (13-Dec-13)

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    I wouldn't sign it. In the first instance, as Anthony pointed out, it's an attempt to unilaterally change your employment contract, without any consultation or negotiation.

    This bit "as well as to secure the ongoing services of the staff member." is clearly a load of crap, because this bit "she said that if I refuse to sign the addendum, I might not get a bonus next year." contradicts it.

    They have also very neatly painted themselves into a corner. Both contracts stipulate a bonus! One has the 6 month proviso, the other not. That's all. In essence it means they have no choice but to pay the bonus, and as for getting it paid back ... well good luck with that.

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    Christel (13-Dec-13)

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Right for the record I said this before but regardless I will say it again. Find a good legal company pay them their monthly subscription it is not that much. And keep them up to date with changes like this. You pay for their services and they will give you good sound advice. AND when the employer starts pushing you can use them “legal company” to protect your job.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Silver Member Christel's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'm a member of Solidarity... will ask them for assistance.
    always fear when Christel is near....

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christel View Post
    Thanks. I'm a member of Solidarity... will ask them for assistance.
    Solidarity!!!

    All the more reason to get legal help...

    Solidarity is not my first choice... To put it into perspective “I would rather get my heart removed with a wooden spoon without an anaesthetic”
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

  14. #10
    Silver Member Christel's Avatar
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    Eish... I've never really dealt with them, just thought it was a good idea to have them... Will have to give it a try I suppose?
    always fear when Christel is near....

  15. Thanks given for this post:

    tec0 (13-Dec-13)

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