Often employees have a contractual right to be paid a bonus. This is however often subject to various provisions such as individual and company-wide performance. In some cases a bonus can be considered to be part of an employee’s wages and it is possible to make a claim under Section 13 Employment Rights Act 1996 of unlawful deduction of wages.

It is often possible to challenge a non-payment of a bonus, particularly if the bonus scheme is discretionary and particularly if bonus payments have been made in the past.

Discretion cannot be exercised in an irrational or perverse fashion.

Where employees are dismissed for misconduct or in some cases for capability reasons then they are sometimes termed as bad leavers however this is often open to challenge.

It is possible to bring a breach of contract claim in the employment tribunal for unpaid bonuses. There is a cap of £25,000 in the employment tribunal for bonus claims.

There is no cap on bonus claims brought in the civil courts.

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Mark Sellek
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