Bonus – terms and conditions
The employer must continuously evaluate and assess the work performance of the employees in his/her employment. As a result, the assessment can then be utilised to motivate the awarding of bonuses and other salary adjustments. All employees have the obligation to perform duties and tasks as agreed upon. Hence, these duties and tasks must be carried out in a manner which satisfies the employer’s required standards in terms of quality and quantity. It is the employer’s duty to exercise control in the workplace if an employee’s performance does not meet the required standard.
A thirteenth cheque
This type of bonus is considered a condition of employment. As a result, the employee has the expectation of a thirteenth cheque every year as part of his/her compensation package. If the employer wishes to terminate or amend the practice of paying a thirteenth cheque, the employer must consult with the employee and the employee must agree to the change in the terms and conditions of employment.
The employer may not amend the terms and conditions of employment unilaterally. A unilateral change in terms and conditions of employment can be regarded as unreasonable and unfair. The employee may refer the matter to the CCMA. A valid reason to terminate the practice of paying the employees a thirteenth cheque will be when an employer cannot afford to pay bonuses due to financial constraints and withholding bonuses could be regarded as an alternative to retrenchments. Employers must be cautious not to discriminate against any employee in terms of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment, policies and benefits.
When an employee alleges he/she is entitled to a bonus, the onus rests on the employer to prove the contrary. It is important that an employer continuously assesses the employee’s work performance, as well as keep records of these assessments.
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