I am a regular SE user but for reasons of privacy I am required to post this anonymously with a new account. This question is a question about communication with my superiors.


Last year I was awarded a raise, actually a kind of "don't-leave-us" raise which was made 50% by a salary increase, and 50% by a yearly bonus paid on the March payroll according to goals. In other words, with round figures, if I was to be given 5000 eur/year as raise, 2500 were embedded in my gross salary and I would have to expect a bonus from 0 to 2500 at March.

This was part of a written agreement between my company and me. I also expect, for this raise to be effective by September 2017, no more than 1250 bucks, because the contract may be interpreted this way. But I would not like to discuss this issue.

My company issues and pays every month's salary on the next month for administrative reasons, so in April I finally got an alert from my online bank that my salary was credited. Today I haven't actually been emailed any payroll statement yet (maybe 20th April I may get something)


Judging from the amount I was credited I was basically given no yearly bonus. A payroll statement, which can be any late, can confirm if I was simply awarded a symbolic 1 euro bonus or nothing at all.

My boss nor HR ever told me anything about the bonus and never called me for any review with the approaching April. I would like to ask how, and when, should I approach HR/boss for asking about explanations. Bonuses are like tips at restaurant for me: if you give none, then the food really sucked.

My expectation was at least my boss or HR calling me and say like:

Bob, this year your performance dropped tremendously and because of you company has failed to reach its objectives. You are still with us, but it is important that you start to improve the quality of your work. Remember when we agreed for a performance-bonus? This year there is no bonus from you, but we expect you give the best of yourself so that the next year you can finally buy yourself what you wish most.

Episodic performance drops

I have to say that recently, because of the work load, my performance had a few hiccups. I always tried to do my job best, but with deadlines, customers giving incorrect information, coworkers pressing me for getting job done quickly, various emergencies at work, my faults, etc. I had been unable to provide good work on a few recent occasions, and also I had a tremendous discussion with my boss about the delivery of a personal project (personal refers to boss) that escalated my priority list just a few days ago when I was unable to focus on activities that were prioritary for other business of the company.

Now I want to say that I have indeed failed in some recent occasions, but before someone says "you answered yourself why you didn't get a bonus" and reminding that bonus is "from 0 to 2500" I would like to ask my


  • How can I correctly approach either HR or my boss and request about why I was not given any bonus at all without a performance review and without having them to accuse me of bad performance last week?
  • Should I put the topic on soon or wait? Explanation below

The point of accusing me of bad performance recently ("recentism") means of course that their response could be excessively biased on recent performance than overall, and in my opinion it could be grounds for moral discussion. Yes, Internet and social media allows you to quickly and irreversibly destroy your reputation in minutes, but can really a single negative event impact overall performance so dramatically?

I am feeling urge to speak (at least with a payroll sheet in my hands) otherwise I am afraid to show weak points. Yes, I am confessing here that I am psychologically weak in this moment, but that's not a good excuse to be stronger. I am feeling afraid to break the friendly relationship with my superiors.

On the contrary, waiting for a successful delivery could get my boss in a better mood.

Also consider the

Possible answer in favour of the employer

Contract says I am awarded bonuses by the March payroll according to performance review. They are actually done on September of every year. I could be answered

Bob, you have to wait for September 2018 to earn your bonus and for April 2019 to be credited it

  • Which country, which economic or industrial sector, what kind of job? – Basile Starynkevitch Apr 15 '18 at 16:22
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    "This question is a question about". This is all over the place. What is the single negative event? – paparazzo Apr 15 '18 at 18:27
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    Is there a reason you are assuming this wasn't an honest mistake? This reads like you think your company intentionally is screwing you over but I don't see much here to suggest that (?). – enderland Apr 15 '18 at 18:28
  • @enderland the reason I want to speak is to make sure the company is not trying to screw me up. When they made payroll mistakes in the past they promptly discovered and alerted the people. – user86044 Apr 15 '18 at 20:07
  • Call HR and ask them about it. Then go see your boss and ask if what HR told is correct. The longer you wait to say anything, the worse it will be. I'm not sure what else you're expecting us to tell you. And no, a bonus is not like a tip, at least not in the United States. For one thing, the IRS assumes that waiters get a 15% tip on average (for those waiters that are allowed to receive tips, whether they've received that amount or a different amount). But for bonuses, the IRS makes no such assumption. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 15 '18 at 21:56

You are approaching this in the wrong way. You want to prove it is not a malicious action, but to do so may be impossible. Instead try to understand the actual reason.

The first thing I would do tomorrow is approach your manager about the bonus. Explain that it was in your contract, but you have not heard anything about what the bonus will be, and have not received it yet, though you thought it was supposed to be at the end of March.

The answer to this question will probably resolve this entire episode. There is a good chance that they forgot to do this, and since you have not talked to them it simply fell through the cracks. And while it should not be your responsibility to track this, the reality of the business world is that things get missed.

If this is the case, I would try to talk with your manager about how to address this next year so that you can get your bonus on time.

  • Except he may have been given it, albeit a symbolic 1e one. – Leon Apr 16 '18 at 10:39
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    @Leon - Then that will be cleared up in the discussion too. I still suspect that it was simply forgotten as its far more important to the OP that it was to the company they worked for. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 16 '18 at 10:40

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