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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I work large corporation, which has UK, International

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Hi, I work for a large corporation, which has UK, International and Group branches. My employment contract doesn't state which bonus scheme (UK, International or Group) relates to me. Last year everyone else in the team of 12 people I work with received a annual bonus based on the Group results, and I received a UK bonus, which was less. This was communicated to me as "an administrative issued based on cost centre structures that would be resolved" This year exactly the same thing has happened, and my bonus will be less than 1/3 of that of the rest of my colleagues (as a % of salary) based on the same personal performance rating. I'm being told this won't be changed and is fair. Is it not fair for me to assume that as there's not explicit reference to which bonus I'll be paid, that I'll be paid based on the same scheme as the rest of the team I work in? Thank you
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you ever been paid anything else apart from the UK bonus?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben. No, however I've only worked in this team for just over a year, previously I've always worked in teams that were 100% UK bonus only
So did they basically say they more or less admit you should not have been kept on the UK bonus and this was an admin error?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Last year yes, and that it would be corrected. The difference in bonus amounts last year was less than 1%, and so I didn't bother pursuing it for last year. This year they've said the fact that everyone else in the team is on Group is the error, not me being on UK, and that this will be changed from next year, and that nothing will be corrected for me this year. The difference in percentages is large this time round (10.9% Group v 3.3% UK)
So as far as you know are they actually moving everyone in your team to UK bonus?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes they've said they're going to for the bonus that will be paid from year 2016, paid in 2017, however they haven't actually announced this yet
And do you know if historically, before your move, that team was paid the Group or UK bonus?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The team didn't exist, it was only set up when I joined. I've just spoke to my old boss a little about it, and he's told me that he was told last year that it was a completely unintentional split in the team based on cost centre set ups, and that the director of our team, was as surprised by it last year as anyone was
Whilst you may indeed assume that you would be in the same bonus structure as your colleagues, that in itself may not be enough to force the employer to pay you the same. As far as you are concerned personally, your contract does not refer to a specific scheme and you have always received the UK bonus. There is no history of the team always being paid the Group bonus so you cannot realistically rely on this being an implied contractual term through custom and practice. For example this could have been a reasonable argument had there been a consistent history of paying that bonus for a while and this practice has basically become ingrained in the company terms. However, if this is a new team, with no history of specific bonus payments and this was due to an error, which is being corrected, you have very weak grounds legally to demand the same bonus as the others. Technically you have not lost out because you are on the same terms you had always been and with no specific contractual reference to what bonus scheme you are on and no custom and practice argument to rely on that by moving into this team you would be entitled to a specific scheme, your options are limited. You may of course ty and challenge it internally through a grievance but if that is rejected, then it is probably best to leave it as it will be difficult to challenge it legally. I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the information Ben, and I appreciate your honesty
You are welcome, all the best