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Avoid unfair labour practices! Follow these 4 steps if you can't afford to pay bonuses

by , 06 November 2015
Bonuses act as an incentive for your employees based on the work they do for you. Many employees will look forward to their bonuses as they see it as a just reward for the work they put in for you.

But let's say you had a bad year financially, and you can't really afford to pay them their bonuses. What do you do?

There's a way to go about it, and if you don't you'll be accused on an unfair labour practice. Also, the employment relationship, between you and your employees could suffer terribly.

So, follow these 4 steps to deal with this scenario...

Step#1: Give advanced notice

Give all affected staff advanced notice, IN WRITING. Let them know that you're considering not paying them their bonuses based on adequate reasons.

Invite them to give their input, whether in writing or verbally, on the matter and to propose any solutions. This can make them feel a part of the decision making and a sense of responsibility over their wealth.

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Step#2: Give your employees time

It's important to give your employees time to process and consider the notice. Give them at least 24 hours in which to comment on it and come up with proposals for solutions.

Step#3: Consider the feedback

Genuinely look into the feedback of your employees and seriously consider the feasibility of each of their proposals.

Step#4: Inform employees of your decision

Inform your employees as to whether you agree and, or, disagree with their proposals and provide satisfactory reasons for why you say so.
*There are good reasons why you should pay bonuses, but if you really can't afford it, after you've agreed to, then you're at risk.

But if you follow these steps, you can greatly reduce the chances of your employees accusing you of an unfair labour practice. You can also help maintain your employment relationship.

To learn more on employee bonuses, subscribe to Labour Law for Managers.

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