What is the legality of not paying a merit bonus for time period the merit bonus is based on, after giving a 2 week notice?

My current company pays a bonus based on merit ever period or 30 days. I’m giving a 2 week notice now and have currently worked the whole 30 days for that month. However, I’m afraid that they won’t pay me the bonus due to the fact that I’m leaving. Also, my bonus pay makes up more then 20% of my yearly salary.

Asked on July 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The law does not require or address bonuses, since employers are free to offer them or not--and if they offer them, to set the criteria therefore.. Bonuses rather are governed by contract or agreement--the contract or agreement (even if only an oral, or unwritten, one) pursuant to which the employee is working. If under the terms of the bonus, the employee has to be employed as of the payment of the bonus to receive it, for example, then the employee would lose the bonus if he leaves employment prior to bonus payment. Therefore, there is no general answer to this question: it depends entirely on the terms of and policy behind the bonus.

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