Christmas Bonus Changes for Employees

What can an employee do if he/she was not provided with their Christmas Bonus this year ?.

Say an employee receives a bonus at Christmas from the employer each year and this year an employer decides not to pay this employee the bonus sum.

If this arises, an aggrieved employee can claim the employer’s unilateral change to an employee’s bonus terms to extend payment over a number of years was unlawful and a restraint of trade.

If an employer fails to discharge this years bonus which is either an express term of the contract, implied term, or is custom and practice, this employee can make a complaint under S. 5 of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 which states:

An employer shall not make a deduction from the wages of an employee (or receive any payment from an employee) unless—

( a) the deduction (or payment) is required or authorised to be made by virtue of any statute or any instrument made under statute,

( b) the deduction (or payment) is required or authorised to be made by virtue of a term of the employee’s contract of employment included in the contract before, and in force at the time of, the deduction or payment, or

( c) in the case of a deduction, the employee has given his prior consent in writing to it.

(2) An employer shall not make a deduction from the wages of an employee in respect of:

( a) any act or omission of the employee, or

( b) any goods or services supplied to or provided for the employee by the employer the supply or provision of which is necessary to the employment.

This employee could alternatively make a complaint under S.13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 which states:

Subject to the provisions of this section, where a trade dispute (other than a dispute connected with rates of pay of, hours or times of work of, or annual holidays of, a body of workers) exists or is apprehended and involves workers within the meaning of Part VI of the Principal Act, a party to the dispute may refer it to a rights commissioner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an employer change my contract and reduce my pay ?

Employers cannot deduct an employees wages unless this has been authorised by a legislative act, by a clause permitting same in the employee’s employment contract, or if the employee gives consent for the reduction.

Can my employer reduce my wages / salary in Ireland ?

This is answered above.

Disclaimer of Christmas Bonus Entitlement Article

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed.

It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute. Legal advice should be sought from a solicitor prior to relying on anything in this article.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.