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Quitting Job vs Waiting For Bonus Payment

quitting job vs waiting for bonus paymentI have been working for this company for 3 years,If i resign now will i be able to get my bonus or if I want to resign a day before the company closes for its annual holiday,do i still have to come back in January?


Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I need more details of your situation, but I will respond based on what typically happens before bonus payouts. Most bonus payouts are dependant on audited financials being issued. I think you need to stick around until this happens and monies are distributed. I had to be an employee until the bonus was distributed in each company I have been in. In other words, if I left on March 1 and bonuses were distributed on March 2, I was out of luck. If you want to share any other details, that would be helpful.

(Administrator) |

Thank you, the bonuses are given the first week of December, so what i would like to know is it possible to give my resignation letter after the bonus has been given to me, and will i have to come back in January when the company opens to serve my notice?

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

It is most likely that, once the bonus is given, it would be impossible for the employer to request it back.

Is there a contract or policy regarding bonus calculations in place?

What is the time period involved in calculating bonuses?

There is most likely some applicable state employment/compensation law as well that your employer must follow.

Jim Schwartz
Title: Corporate financial advisor
Company: Wabash Financial Strategies
(Corporate financial advisor, Wabash Financial Strategies) |

You are merging two separate issues into one conversation. Once the bonus is paid it's generally yours. It's a reward for performance already rendered not future performance. A potential exception to that for someone not in a sales role would be a bonus plan that calls for return of money if you are proven to have committed fraud.

The question of how long you must work after giving notice varies widely. Some companies or supervisors want two or three weeks to facilitate finding and training a replacement. Others want you gone quickly. What is the practice in your firm/department?

Take the long view and never burn your bridges. Get the bonus then give notice promptly. This happens all the time. You should be able to work two weeks after that before reaching the holiday closing. Do you have unused vacation time that could offset part of the notice period? Even if you have to return for a few days in early January, what's the issue?

(CFO) |

"Some companies or supervisors want two or three weeks to faciliate finding and training a replacement."

Having been on both sides of that facilitation on several occasions my standard recommendation is to provide two weeks notice to be "fair" but stand firm and exit as quickly as possible.

Most companies cannot replace you in two weeks let alone allow you time to transfer your institutional awareness to a replacement. So, they often ask for more time in an effort to extract the most out of you. This is using you. If you were that valuable, they should have acknowledged it instead of allowing you to founder along until you came up with a better opportunity on your own.

Once you tender a resignation, you are in a "lame duck" position. Hanging around after the party is over is not good for you or the company. It frequently creates ill will even though you might try your best to make the transition painless.

I've even known of cases where higher ups, angry that someone voted with their feet by resigning to take another position, convinced the employee to remain for a longer transition period in order to buy time to attempt to sabotage the employee's move to the new company. The likelihood of clandestine revenge activities goes up if one is leaving for the competition.

It's not good to create ill will. But, move on as quickly as possible and, don't look back. Go out on top.

Remember, if it was the reverse; if you were laid off instead, do you think they'd acquiesce to your request to hang around for a while to help them transition and so you could buy time to find a new job?

I didn't think so.

Topic Expert
Karoline Mello
Title: Director, FP&A
Company: Apollo Group
(Director, FP&A, Apollo Group) |

I agree with Jim, once your bonus is paid to you it is yours. Does your company have a bonus policy that states how long the individual must work for the company? Do you know what your bonus will be in advance, sometimes the bonus is a set amount based on performance targets or company financial targets set in advance? Smaller companies might still have bonus payouts be at management discretion from a pool of funds set aside for bonus.

If bonus payout is discretionary, then waiting is better for your short term financial picture. Would your manager still give you a positive recommendation if you did so? Lastly, when other people have resigned, were they expected to work their two weeks notice? I would advise you write your letter of resignation on something like Dec 6th and include language like “My last day of work will be Dec 20th”.

I would not make a resigning accounting person work their last two weeks, for a variety of reasons that put the customers, the remaining staff, and the integrity of department above the risk of being short handed a few extra days before the holidays. We pay them for no more than two weeks regardless of how much notice we receive and wish them well in their future endeavors.


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