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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5357
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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My company pays a discretionary annual bonus financial year

Customer Question

My company pays a discretionary annual bonus for the financial year July – June, it is calculated on cash available and profit in the company at 30th June.
I worked the full year up until 17th June 2014 prior to taking 12 months unpaid maternity leave. Bonuses were paid as usual in August to the two other team members but I was excluded without an explanation.
I returned to work on 1st June this year and obviously wasn’t expecting to receive a bonus payment for one month (even though I have received pro rata bonuses prior to this). My role prior to maternity leave was Financial Officer and I was responsible for the accounting/payroll functions of the two businesses. However since my return to work, I helped tidy the business up and prepare the accounts for year-end audit, but I was conveniently told by my boss that the colleague who looked after this business while I was on leave (she doesn’t have a finance background) would take over and I was moved on to a different project. This conveniently coincided with the bonus accrual being posted. I was hoping I would be paid this year for the bonus I missed while on leave, but it would appear not as they were paid again to my two colleagues last week and I was excluded and I feel it has all been done very much in a “behind my back attitude”.
I will be raising this issue with my boss on his return from leave, but know bonus payments are a grey area. Just after some employment law advice as to where I stand on this matter as I feel as though I am completely being excluded from a team environment because I am the only part-time employee at the company with a young family.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Based on the information you have provided it would appear likely you are suffering from discrimination on the basis of your pregnancy for both the non payment of the bonus and your employer's apparent unilateral decision to deny you your old job at the end of your maternity leave.

The following links should assist your understanding as to your rights:

http://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/maternity-and-parental-leave

http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/index.php/workplace-discrimination/type-of-discrimination/pregnancy-a-breastfeeding

Only a fully briefed lawyer can give you firm advice as to the strength of your case, and your entitlement to compensation, if any, however, prima face you do appear to have a case and if you are keen to assert your rights you should engage an employment or discrimination lawyer to explore your legal options more fully. Strict time limits apply to such claims, so do not delay.

If you need help locating a suitable lawyer, contact the Law Institute of Victoria as they can refer you to a suitable lawyer in your area:

http://www.liv.asn.au/

On the other hand, if you are happy in your new role, and the pay is sufficient such that the lost bonus is not really an issue, then you may be better off letting the matter slide, as litigation to enforce your rights will likely sour your relationship with your employer.

I trust the above assists.

Good luck and please rate my answer.

Thanks,

Patrick

Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

I note you have not yet reviewed my answer.

Please do so, and then rate my answer so I can be paid for my time and effort.

I am paid out of the funds you previously deposited, there is no further charge for rating my answer.

Thanks,

Patrick

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