During the summer I negotiated for a raise and a big part of the raise package was a doubling of target bonus. I was planning to move jobs once bonuses were paid out. Because of HR delays, bonuses have been delayed over a month past last years date. When bonus schedules were finally announced, I accepted an offer at a new company with a start date precisely two weeks after the bonus payout. A week before payout date, HR sends out email saying bonus payouts will be delayed two weeks. Now I am faced with either forgoing bonus which I worked for all year, and which should have been paid already. Or taking my chances and quitting with no notice in hopes of getting the bonus before squeaking out the door and burning a lot of bridges in the process. I'm not sure what is morally or legally reasonable here.

closed as off-topic by JasonJ, IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, Masked Man, Rory Alsop Feb 25 '17 at 10:02

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    Need a country. – Chris E Feb 24 '17 at 16:13
  • Is it OK to quit without notice In most cases, probably not. – rath Feb 24 '17 at 16:16
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    Trail tip: It's not because of HR delays. No competent C-Level exec would let promised bonuses go more than 2 days' late. I would bet your current company has financial problems. I wouldn't count on ever seeing that bonus. - Based on personal experience. – Wesley Long Feb 24 '17 at 16:22
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    Your mistake was in accepting a bonus scheme to begin with as part of a raise. Bonus is not a raise, it never guaranteed and it does not carry over to the next year's salary. Never consider the bonus amount when deciding on a job or to accept a raise. A bonus promised is like a lottery ticket. LIkely if the bonus is being delayed far past when it used to be paid, they don't have the money to pay it. I would count this bonus as gone, personally. Your chances of getting this money if you leave are roughly zero. Leaving includes giving notice. – HLGEM Feb 24 '17 at 17:53
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    And the retro pay raise to the beginning of the year? They may be legally obligated to that if you have it in writing but they will probably make you fight in court to get. The fact that pay raises are retroactive is a another bad sign the company is going under. Financially stable companies never give pay raises retroactively, when they give a raise you get it immediately. – HLGEM Feb 24 '17 at 17:57

In most cases, you are not obligated to give notice unless you sign some sort of documentation agreeing to do so. It is customary, and courteous to provide a two weeks notice.

In regards to the bonus situation, I feel for you and have been there myself -- it sucks. Based on what you described, I would not count on getting the bonus ever even if you stay with your current employer versus the new gig. Bonus money is typically not guaranteed ( unless you have in writing that you get x bonus no matter what ) and is usually tied to a performance metric allowing the company to either not pay it out or to pay out a reduced amount.

My advice is to cut your losses and move on to the next gig.

  • The contract states that an employee can quit with no less than 2 weeks written notice. I don't know if/whether that is enforceable in some way and it states no specific repercussions for not doing so. – Confused Feb 24 '17 at 16:40
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    On that note, I would safe yourself some potential pain and give two weeks notice. If you want to attempt to skip out on that, contact an attorney for legal repercussions. – Mister Positive Feb 24 '17 at 16:41
  • Glad I could help. – Mister Positive Feb 24 '17 at 16:45
  • As you gave your word on two weeks notice you are honor bound to act accordingly. – Jonathan Rosenne Feb 26 '17 at 6:36

It's your reputation. Are you willing to risk it over this amount of money? For me this would be a tough question if my bonus were doubled.

I'd suggest feeling out the hiring manager at the new organization about this. Starting on the agreed date is going to lead to zero notice as bonus delays have put you between a rock and a hard place. Some managers would be receptive to letting this slide. My plant has a new hire that is in this exact situation and had his hire date slid a month.

If you do quit on no notice, apologize to your boss and be sure to be upfront about these HR delays are the primary factor in this, that you accepted the offer on X with a start date of Y so you could provide reasonable notice without it personally costing you $Z,000 to do so. I think that this will be the best chance of mitigating a hit to your reputation.

  • See OP's comment to my answer regarding notice – Mister Positive Feb 24 '17 at 17:17
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    Yes, as @MisterPositive helped me to realize, my contract stipulated a minimum 2 week written notice period. I don't think this relatively small and non-guaranteed bonus is worth potentially getting sued over, so that pretty much settles it for me I think. – Confused Feb 24 '17 at 17:56

I'm not a big believer in two-weeks notice. It's one of those things that has become culturally expected but realistically has little place in our current employment culture.

There are cases where I do think notice is appropriate (when you're working for an at-will company):

  • Training your replacement is really important and will take that long.
  • Your job must have a body there to do it and they need that long to get someone there.
  • The company has been very good to you in particular.

If I've got a great relationship with an employer, I'll think about 2 weeks but more likely give a week. Believe it or not, a week is typically all that's needed because knowledge-transfer is the main reason they want you there and a week is almost always enough for that.

But look at the other side of it, remembering that employment is always a two-way street. You're not a servant, remember.

Would the company give you 2 weeks notice if your position were eliminated?

If the answer is yes, maybe they do deserve the notice. In all but one of the places I've worked, the answer has been no. And they certainly wouldn't give you notice if they were terminating you.

And there's another reason not to give (much) notice. Many companies won't even accept it. There are potential security concerns for a departing employee as well as concerns of productivity.

The real risk here is of burning bridges and that's pretty small. These days companies typically just verify whether or not you've worked there. Having a personal reference of a supervisor would be good but if you don't end up with that (especially if you wouldn't anyway) than it's not fatal.

What you do have is cause. HR has been delaying and delaying. Whether they call it a bonus or not, it's not like it's extra pay. You'd have given notice if you'd been paid on time. It's HR that's not leaving you much choice.

But the bottom line (for me) is this: If you CAN give notice, do it. It doesn't hurt. If you can only give a week, do that. If you can't, you may be burning a bridge but that's not the end of the world, especially since you'll already have a job. If it were me, that's what I would do. Notice if I can but not worrying if I can't. Do what you can to get the bonus AND your new job. Just don't accept any more delays.

And as I said, don't sweat any hit on your reputation. They're not giving you what was promised. While it's not guaranteed, it's a promise that they're breaking. That alone gives you cause to quit.

The "it's not guaranteed" is a lame excuse by the way. Your next week of work isn't guaranteed either. It doesn't change the fact that promises were made.

  • Bonus money, in my experience, is based on either personal performance, company performance or a combination of both. This allows the company ( right or wrong ) to not pay out additional monies if the person did not have such a good year, or the company losses money. The only exception to the would be if you have an employment contract that guarantees the bonus no matter what ( not sure this scenario actually exists unless your a high level exec ). In that case its a breech of contract and you can sue. – Mister Positive Feb 24 '17 at 17:47

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