My company gives out project-based annual bonus at the end of each year, and I'm (probably) about to quit. Should I ask for my bonus for the projects I've already completed this year?

  • 4
    You can ask, but don't be surprised if the answer is "the bonus will be given out at the end of the year".
    – sf02
    Sep 23 '19 at 15:30
  • Are you expecting any hard feelings about you leaving or will it be on very good terms?
    – Myles
    Sep 23 '19 at 15:38
  • Hmm most likely it will be on good terms
    – daxter1992
    Sep 23 '19 at 15:42

You can politely ask; however, companies have no obligation or incentive to pay bonuses early to an employee who is leaving.

Most companies pay bonuses to everyone at the same time to avoid conflict within the company culture. However, I have seen companies pay out prorated bonuses to employees leaving on good terms.

  • I should probably add that this is a very very small company, so I deal with the owner directly, no HR person
    – daxter1992
    Sep 23 '19 at 15:36
  • I believe it would still apply. Moreover, many companies plan for a certain time to pay bonuses, but it will rarely hurt to ask if you are respectful regardless of the outcome of your situation. Never burn a bridge by getting upset if you can help it.
    – user109832
    Sep 23 '19 at 15:47
  • Yeah I know but the "not burning a bridge" part might be the difficult one in this situation
    – daxter1992
    Sep 23 '19 at 16:05
  • Are you at liberty to explain why it might be difficult to not burn the bridge?
    – user109832
    Sep 23 '19 at 16:12
  • I would add a note that this action can create some negative feelings, as well as that it will probably alert the company that you are leaving if they don't already know. At least, if I'm managing someone and they request an early bonus I'd wonder if they're planning to leave, and if they left after requesting an early bonus for some other reason I'd probably resent it.
    – dbeer
    Sep 23 '19 at 16:45

I believe that most companies pay bonuses as a reward system to aid in retaining good employees. I'm not sure how you could explain why you should get the bonus early without disclosing that you are leaving, which then defeats the purpose of the bonus.

Since you've already decided to leave, I don't think there is any harm in asking. Your company may be small enough to handle it differently, but you should go into the conversation understanding the company's goals also.

  • I agree that bonuses help to retain talent, but bonuses are usually framed as a reward for work well done, not an incentive to stick around for work yet to be done. There's not much of an incentive for the company to pay out a bonus early, but it doesn't defeat the point of the bonus any more than it would for someone who quit the day after receiving it. Sep 23 '19 at 16:21
  • @NuclearWang, They are often framed as reward for work well done, but that doesn't change the motivation from the companies side. You are correct about the person who quits immediately after, but in that case the company had no knowledge and likely wishes they had known. A smaller company could definitely be more employee friendly, but for most companies, I believe this applies.
    – cdkMoose
    Sep 23 '19 at 16:26

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