Surprising Things You May Not Know About Christmas Bonuses

  Surprising things you may not know about Christmas bonuses  ‘Tis the season to be jolly… and you’re going to be extra jolly if you have the prospect of a Christmas bonus coming your way.     After all, some companies are great at giving bonuses – whether it’s at the end of the tax year,…

 

Surprising things you may not know about Christmas bonuses 

‘Tis the season to be jolly… and you’re going to be extra jolly if you have the prospect of a Christmas bonus coming your way.  
 
After all, some companies are great at giving bonuses – whether it’s at the end of the tax year, for great sales or performance, or for retention if you’ve stayed at the company for an agreed period. Bonuses in general are a tool to incentivise employees or boost morale (and sometimes they may even be written into your contract). 
 
But Christmas bonuses are a little different, and here are a few surprises to be aware of. 

 

You probably shouldn’t expect it 

If you’re used to getting Christmas bonuses, you might have already planned for the money (and possibly even spent it) but be warned: you might not necessarily get a bonus every year. 
 
While some employers factor bonuses in each year as part of their employees’ salary packages, other companies only give bonuses if the company has done well that year – so if your employer has had a bad year (thanks Covid), that nice little nest egg might not be in your stocking this year. Damn! 

 

It could be a gift rather than tied to performance 

Some Christmas bonuses are based on employee performance, it’s true. But be aware that a ‘bonus’ handed over at the Christmas party – especially if everyone seems to be getting one – is better viewed as a gift from the boss than anything else. 
 
And hopefully, if your employer offers bonuses in a tiered system, they’ll have one bonus amount for managers and another amount for staff, rather than giving different-sized bonuses out to everyone. (After all, it probably wouldn’t go down too well at the Christmas party if Shirley from sales had a bonus three times the size as the one Norman from accounts received, right?) 

 

You’ll be paying tax on that bonus 

Or, if you’re a salaried employee, your employer will have to deduct tax from your bonus, as bonuses are (under our tax system) considered part of your regular wages or salary payments. 
 
That means, if your bonus is $500 it might be a bit less due to the tax taken out, or your employer may factor the tax in and add a bit more to the bonus. 

 

Your bonus may also attract extra super 

Yep, your bonus could be the gift that keeps on giving! Because your boss has to pay super on employee payments that are considered ordinary time earnings (OTE), he or she may also have to pay the minimum super guarantee on your bonus. 
 
If it’s a small monetary bonus, you might not notice much of a boost to your super balance, but if you’ve got a hefty bonus coming your way, the accompanying super could be a nice little extra for your retirement fund. Just make sure it’s actually paid and take it up with the accounts department if not. 
 
Christmas bonuses are great, and a nice way to know that you’re appreciated at your company. 
 
However, they’re not a given – so it’s best not to expect one just in case you’re disappointed. It’s also good to know the ins and outs of your bonus, and to be aware of whether it might attract tax and super. 
 
Here’s to a very merry little Christmas (and that bonus you’re hoping for!)