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Bonus issue with FMLA leave

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  • Bonus issue with FMLA leave

    Our company has a policy of paying bonuses in March for all employees of record 12/31 of the previous year. This year, we had two employees go on FMLA in November, and never return to work in January after their leave ran out. Two Questions:

    1. Do I have to pay them a bonus since they never returned to work but were technically employed at the cut off date? This could be applicable for employees who take year-end vacation as well and never return.

    2. The idea has been brought up that, if we pay the bonuses, we cut hard checks instead of electronic transfer and just keep the checks at the office until the former employee asks for it. This way we may never hear from them again and we wouldn't have to pay them the bonus. Is this legal?

  • #2
    Does your policy require that the employee be currently employed at the time the bonus is paid out? What do you do for others who quit between 12/31 and the date the checks are cut?
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      the policy says if you are employed at the measurement period (12/31) and you are not fired for cause before the scheduled payout, then you get the bonus. Problem is, they technically were not fired for cause.

      regardless of what we have to do this time, can I amend the policy to indicate that if an employee is on vacation , FMLA leave, etc at yaer end and does not return prior to scheduled bonus payout, that they do not receive the bonus?

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      • #4
        Then I would pay it as I would for anyone else who quit after 12/31. Going forward I'd consider making the policy such that the person must be actively employed as of the date the bonus is paid out to receive the funds.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Thanks, I think we would just be asking for trouble in trying not to pay the bonuses, and to cut them as hard checks and waiting for them to come get them.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bassman1282 View Post
            Thanks, I think we would just be asking for trouble in trying not to pay the bonuses, and to cut them as hard checks and waiting for them to come get them.
            I may be misunderstanding what you are saying here, so please forgive me if that is the case. Are you saying you will be cutting hard checks and will wait for the employees to come and claim the money? If so, you need to know that if your decision is to pay these bonuses the money is no longer yours. If this is an attempt to wait out the employee to see if you can save the bonus money I would strongly urge you to reconsider.
            Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

            I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

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            • #7
              I believe OP is saying they were considering that but decided that would be asking for trouble which I agree.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
                I believe OP is saying they were considering that but decided that would be asking for trouble which I agree.
                yes thats what I was saying, and trust me, it wasn't my recommendation. thanks

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                • #9
                  Good decision not to do that. You're welcome.
                  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                  Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                  Comment

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