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Employee Bonus Related Questions

Woman smiling after being given employee bonus Employee bonuses are compensation for the work that the employee has performed. Employers often pay the employee a bonus in addition to the employee’s regular salary or wages. Not all bonuses are created equal and this often results in many questions about an employee’s rights and bonus laws. While some of these may be ethical questions, others are legal and require experienced legal insight. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer answer a wide range of employee bonus related questions and can answer any questions that you may have regarding employee bonuses or bonus law issues. Below are five of the top questions about employee bonus issues answered by the Experts.

Can an employer change bonus policies without notifying employees?

An employer can usually change bonus policies as long as the employer hasn’t created a contract with the employees. Employment without a contract is considered ‘at will’, which means that the employer can terminate an employee at any time and may change policies whenever they wish, as long as the change isn’t a violation of public policy or motivated by workplace discrimination. An employer doesn’t have to consult with employees when deciding to change its bonus policies. If the employer was to put a policy into written words, stating that the employee bonuses would not change, then this would create a contract, holding the employer to the obligation to continue paying bonuses. If the employer were to violate the contractual promise, the employee could then consider suing the employer for breach of contract. However, if the employer gives bonuses out of custom and if there is no contract that obligates the employer to continue paying these bonuses, they are not required by law to pay the bonuses in a certain manner or to pay them at all.

If an employee resigns, are they entitled to any bonuses that have been earned?

If an employee has a employment contract or agreement with the employer that states that the employee would receive bonuses that have been earned, regardless of the circumstances in which the employee leaves, then the employee would be entitled to those bonuses. If there isn’t a contract agreement between the employer and employee about bonuses and how they will be paid, it would be at the employer’s discretion. Under such circumstances, if the employee resigns, the employer would not have to pay these earned bonuses.

Would an employee have to repay a pay advance if the check stub claims it as a bonus as a result of a clerical error?

An advance is considered pay for work that has not been completed yet, while a bonus is pay for work done. Regardless of the clerical error, if employees are given an advance, they are expected to pay it back if they no longer work for the employer. Alternately, the employee would have to work the hours expected at a future date in order to earn the advance received. Employers have been known to overpay on employee wages or give bonuses due to clerical errors, and the employer is usually entitled to a reimbursement of the overpayment. An employee can lose the job and also face a lawsuit if he/she refuses to repay the overpayment by the employer.

In the state of Texas, can an employer withhold earned bonuses from an employee?

An employer cannot withhold any money earned or commissions gained by an employee. If your employer tries to withhold your wages or bonuses, you need to file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Once you file a wage and hour complaint with the TWC, they normally contact your employer and investigate the complaint. If they find in your favor, they can demand that the employer pay your earnings.

Is it legal for an employer to provide bonuses to contracted employees without providing the method of calculation for the bonus?

If the employee’s contract doesn’t state the manner of which the bonus is calculated or the exact amount of the bonuses given, it is up to the employer’s discretion. However, if there are requirements in the contract that dictates that the employer must provide the method of calculation for the employee’s bonuses, the employer would have to abide by it. You should read your contract closely and see if there is anything mentioned about bonuses and how they are calculated.

Many people have questions about bonuses and bonus laws. If you find yourself in a situation that requires legal insight, you can take the advice of a lawyer, ask your friends or fellow workers, and you can ask Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer for their legal insight. The Experts can offer answers to questions about your individual problem in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.
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