Article

Bracing for bonuses

Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

December 3, 2019

 

Question:

Hi Jennifer, 

I am getting ready to brace myself for employee demands for bonuses.  What is the best approach here?  I usually give everyone the same amount ($100 for staff) and then a few get a little more that are merit based.   Is this ok? 

Thanks, Dr. S

Answer:
 
Depends.  We have to be careful you are not setting yourself up for a claim of disparate treatment among the employees.  Under NYS law, and other similarly situated states, Employers are absolutely legally entitled to award discretionary bonuses, but the fact a bonus is discretionary should be documented by contract or policy.See Buckman v Calyon Sec. (USA), Inc., 817 F.Supp.2d 322, 338 (S.D. N.Y. 2011).  So here, where everyone gets $100 except for a few on "merit basis", I would ensure you have a policy that bonuses are 100% discretionary and then I encourage you to internally document why some are being awarded a merit based additional sum than everyone else.  Documentation can be as simple as an email to your office manager or controller distributing payment and a rationale as to why some are receiving more than others.  Documenting the discretionary bonus is also easy - we can capture in a policy or the employee handbook, or by individual contracts.   Similarly, if we are not awarding a bonus to any employee, while others are receiving, you may elect, as a best practice, to document as well. 

For assistance in proper papering of policy, including bonuses, email (jennifer@kirschenbaumesq.com) or call Jennifer directly.  


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Looking for HIPAA and compliance forms?  
Click here to visit our website.
Have a question or comment for Jennifer?
Contact Jennifer at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com or  at (516) 747-6700 x. 302.
Interested in having Jennifer speak at an event or
at a residency/fellowship program?
Contact Jennifer directly at (516) 747-6700 x. 302 or at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com
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Bracing for bonuses-December 3, 2019-Jennifer Kirschenbaum

Article

Bracing for bonuses

Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

December 3, 2019

 

Question:

Hi Jennifer, 

I am getting ready to brace myself for employee demands for bonuses.  What is the best approach here?  I usually give everyone the same amount ($100 for staff) and then a few get a little more that are merit based.   Is this ok? 

Thanks, Dr. S

Answer:
 
Depends.  We have to be careful you are not setting yourself up for a claim of disparate treatment among the employees.  Under NYS law, and other similarly situated states, Employers are absolutely legally entitled to award discretionary bonuses, but the fact a bonus is discretionary should be documented by contract or policy.See Buckman v Calyon Sec. (USA), Inc., 817 F.Supp.2d 322, 338 (S.D. N.Y. 2011).  So here, where everyone gets $100 except for a few on "merit basis", I would ensure you have a policy that bonuses are 100% discretionary and then I encourage you to internally document why some are being awarded a merit based additional sum than everyone else.  Documentation can be as simple as an email to your office manager or controller distributing payment and a rationale as to why some are receiving more than others.  Documenting the discretionary bonus is also easy - we can capture in a policy or the employee handbook, or by individual contracts.   Similarly, if we are not awarding a bonus to any employee, while others are receiving, you may elect, as a best practice, to document as well. 

For assistance in proper papering of policy, including bonuses, email (jennifer@kirschenbaumesq.com) or call Jennifer directly.  


Looking for the KK Healthcare Exchange?  Click Here. 

MISSED OUR RECENT WEBINARS?  CLICK HERE ANYTIME!
Looking for HIPAA and compliance forms?  
Click here to visit our website.
Have a question or comment for Jennifer?
Contact Jennifer at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com or  at (516) 747-6700 x. 302.
Interested in having Jennifer speak at an event or
at a residency/fellowship program?
Contact Jennifer directly at (516) 747-6700 x. 302 or at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com
Click here to learn about
K&K's Prepaid Legal Audit/Investigation Defense Now!