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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50196
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am in a predicament regarding my employment and was

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I am in a predicament regarding my employment and was wondering if someone may help me understand the implications of going down a number of different paths. Firstly, the problem statement:
With my current employment in the UK, I'm suppose to give 4 weeks notice to leave the company as per my contract. It is a permanent role based in the uk.
At the end of this month (last working day of month) i'm due to get my annual performance bonus which is £13500. Now, there is a rule in my contract that says and I have confirmed with HR that in order to get that bonus, I must not be in a notice period upon the day in which I shall receive the bonus.
Now, I've been offered a contract role through another employer based in Germany; whereby they will pay me as a contractor - I already have a limited company set up and so they would simply pay my company and then as you know; I would then take a salary etc from my ltd company. The catch is that, in order for me to avail of this position I need to start April 4th.
So the following scenarios come into play:
1) I get the bonus on 31st March and quit my job with no notice on April 1st. The result being I walk away with my (well earned) bonus and am able to start my new role on April 4th.
2) I take the contract role and given its going to be remote working; I wait until 1st April hand in my notice to my current employer and some how for that 4 week period - Juggle both pieces of work; then naturally after 4 weeks - My current employer drops off and I can focus on my contract.
I am not trying to hide the fact that my comments probably suggest that greed is the primary narrative above however there is a couple of things; In order for me to support my family (wife and 4 kids); I need to be able to support myself whilst I wait for the first pay check to come from my contract (Probably 2 months) therefore the bonus would essentially give me that financial support.
Could you let me know the implications of going down route 1 and 2. Ideally, Is it illegal ? Will I get a Bad reference, Can my current employer do anything to me etc etc etc.
Any help would be appreciated; also from a moral stand point - some advice around best approach would be appreciated.
Hello are you able do upload the relevant clauses please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Attached2 Pages from my contract detailing the target bonus and the incentive letter I was provide stating the exact amount i would be given.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thats all I have I'm afraid.
Thank you i will take a look and get back to you this eve
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your patience. So I will discuss each route below: 1. You can wait until payment of the bonus and then quit the next day. However, under contract you would be required to give them a month’s notice so they can still expect you to work that period. If an employee fails to honour their contractual notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. Also the employer has to show that actual losses have been incurred and often that is not easy to do. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract. It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above. 2. Legally, there is nothing wrong with having two jobs at the same time. You can have as many jobs as you want (or are able to juggle). The requirement is that you are tax compliant overall and account for and pay all necessary taxes arising out of the two jobs. You must however also check if there is a contractual restrictions with either jobs to prevent you from holding another employment whilst employed by them. An employer could impose their own restriction in that respect so breaching it could amount to a disciplinary matter and they could seek to take further action. So do check both contracts to see if there is anything which may prevent that. If not, then this may be the preferable option as you will not be breaching your contract in the process and as long as you are able to do both jobs at the same time and not jeopardise the work you produce as a result, you may prefer to go down this route. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on discretionary bonuses and some other factors which you could use to your advantage, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben, Apologies for slow response - i've only just read the answer which helps massively. I would definitely be interested in receiving some more advice for you in terms of the law on discretionary bonuses and some other factors which I could use to my advantage. Ive rated the answer as requested...
Many thanks. 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. So you can use the above to argue your position with the employer, together with the fairness of the redundancy itself.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Ben, this is information is really helpful.
You are welcome, all the best