I have an employee who did not meet the requirements for Christmas bonuses. She contends, however, that she should qualify because her extra day off work was due to an “emergency hospital visit.” What’s the next step for me?
At this time of year, companies are frequently confronted with questions from their employees about why they are not qualified for the bonus and assertions that they are eligible and have been treated unfairly.
In general, an employer’s standards for determining whether or not an individual qualifies for Christmas bonuses are left to their discretion. As a result, if one of the requirements is that an employee must miss a specific number of days due to illness before getting the bonus, and the person has reached that barrier, they simply do not qualify. While this may appear harsh, creating exceptions for some employees while not others open the door to complaints from other employees.
Policy regarding Christmas bonuses
Implementing a firm policy specifying the particular standards employees must meet to qualify for a Christmas bonus would be smart. Making employees aware of this policy and reminding them at the beginning of each year will ensure that they understand their obligations and will inevitably lessen the number of questions businesses receive in the run-up to Christmas.
>See also: Christmas entertaining may result in a tax burden for employers
Employers may, however, be obligated to be more forgiving in certain instances. The Equality Act of 2010 specifies that while determining employee benefits, an employer must consider certain absences. Suppose the absences are due to a pregnancy-related disease or disability. In that case, there is a risk that using them to exclude an employee from getting a bonus would result in a discrimination claim, then discounting them for bonus purposes is recommended.
Peninsula’s managing director and founder, Peter Done, is an expert in human resources.