Labour Law

With Christmas Around the Corner, Is an Employer Obliged to Pay Bonuses?

2021 is coming to an end, putting yet another challenging year in the rear view. Despite the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in South Africa, the majority of businesses are still overcoming the obstacles being thrown in their way as a result of this pandemic. The end of the year brings up the thought of getting a Christmas bonus as an employee. However, with Christmas around the corner, is an employer legally obliged to pay bonuses to their employees?

What Does South Africa’s Labour and Employment Laws Stipulate on Year-End Bonuses?

Year-end bonuses, or 13th cheques as they are commonly referred to, are considered a gratuity payment in the eyes of the South African Labour and Employment Laws, with no legislation that obliges employers to pay year-end bonuses to their employees. However, in the case where there is an agreement in place, whether main or collective, that provisions for the employer to pay annual bonuses at the end of the year, the employer is obliged to live up to their end of the agreement.

Can I Legally Insist on a Year-End Bonus?

As an employee, you have agreed to the terms and conditions of employment as stipulated in your contract with your employer. One of the most frequent questions asked in job interviews regards the payment of annual year-end bonuses, emphasising the fact that most employees expect a bonus payment for Christmas. Should your employment agreement include a provision that guarantees year-end bonus pay outs, your bonus must be contingent to this provision and its conditions to ensure that you receive such a payment.

Labour and Employment Law Specialists in South Africa

The majority of employees in South Africa are aware of how difficult it is to get and hold a solid job, putting even more stress on the employee when faced with a legal dispute within the workplace. As a result, some employees are reluctant to put their job at risk or take on their employers when they have been unfairly retrenched or compensated. On top of that, the fear of facing legal fees after losing their case puts even more doubt in their minds, as they will most probably lose their job and monthly income.

Allardyce & Partners Attorneys is your answer, as we offer Labour and Employment Law specialists in South Africa to fight in your corner when faced with a legal dispute between employee and employer. We offer our services on a “no win, no fee” contingency when you earn more than R20 000 per month. Please contact us today on 011 234 2125 or email us at if you need our expert legal services on your side.

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