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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49773
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello, I gave my resignation on january 22nd. My contract

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I gave my resignation on january 22nd. My contract says I have a 3 months notice period.
I asked to leave on march 5th doing half my period. This has been declined by my line manager.

I also have a clause saying my annual bins will be payed in 2 settlements one in July the second in January. The first payment has not been done; my manager said he didn't have enough material to judge my achievement. The second has not been done either. The all bonus scheme has been reviewed and will be payable in March.

Is there for me anyway around my notice period assuming the non payment of my bonus was a breach?
I did partially achieve my objectives, am I still entitled to 2013 even though I resigned?

Thanks for your answer

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: Hi Ben
Ben Jones :

So to clarify you wish t know whether you can use the non-payment of the bonus to reduce your notice period?

Customer: Yes that's right and if not am I entitled to any bonus
Ben Jones :

Yes you could potentially argue that the non-payment of the bonus is a fundamental breach by the employer, which could make the whole contract void and allow you to resign with immediate effect. To be honest it is unlikely that the employer would pursue you for that, it is rare than they take any action if an employee leaves earlier than their full notice period, especially when they may have a valid claim.


In terms of the bonus then when it comes to workplace bonuses, there are two main types: contractual or discretionary. There can be an overlap where a contractual term gives the employer discretion over payment, or there can also be further sub-categories, for example performance-related bonuses or bonuses payable subject to other conditions. What is certain is that the legal issue of bonus eligibility is a rather complex matter and would mainly be subject to interpretation of individual circumstances and the wording of the clauses in question.


A common example is a bonus clause which is contractual but which gives the employer the discretion to decide whether it would be payable or not. This is also a situation which would cause most disputes between employee and employer. Whilst at first glance this may give the employer full discretion as to whether the bonus should be paid or not, this will not always be the case.


If the eligibility to a bonus is based on performance criteria then first of all if an employer is required to form an opinion of an employee's performance they must do so in good faith and be fair. Any other performance criteria would usually be determined based on qualitative data. Assuming the performance conditions have been met, an employer will rarely be able to refuse payment of the bonus as doing so would be acting in bad faith and considered unfair. So this is an example where the employer's discretion is removed once the relevant eligibility conditions have been satisfied.


It follows that even though a bonus clause may be described as being entirely at the employer's discretion, there are circumstances, mainly in performance-based eligibility, where this discretion is removed and the bonus would automatically become payable if the eligibility criteria have been met.

Customer: Thanks for this answer
Ben Jones :

You are welcome, please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer: I have confirmation I would be able to argue my manager's decision if I still decide to leave early
Ben Jones :

Great, glad to hear it. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:

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