In the lead up to the Christmas and New Year's celebrations, employees wait for the payment of their end of year bonus. This end of year bonus as the name suggests is a one-off payment effected in December in addition to the normal salary package. In the Mauritian culture it is this additional payment which helps to keep the morale of the employees high and gives people a little bit extra to spend, travel,buy gifts and school materials for children and afford some "luxuries".
The payment of an end-of-year bonus is an integral feature of the condition of service of employees and is also catered for in the Employment Rights Act 2008. Indeed the payment of an end-of year bonus traces back to 1976 when The End of The Year Gratuity Act was proclaimed.
What does the law say about the End-of-Year Bonus ?
Where a worker remains in continuous employment with the same employer in a year, the worker shall be entitled at-the end of that year to a bonus equivalent to one-twelfth of his earnings for that year.
In relation to workers who have taken up employment during the course of a year, the Act is to the effect that such workers shall be entitled at the end of that year to a bonus equivalent to one-twelfth of their earnings for that year provided two conditions are satisfied, namely-
- The worker is still in the employment of the employer as at 31st December of that year;and
- The worker has performed a number of normal days' work with the employer, equivalent to not less than 80% of the number of working days during employment in that year.
Deadline for payment of End-of-Year Bonus?
Concerning the timing for the payment of the end of year bonus, the Employment Rights Act 2008 provides that 75% of the expected bonus becomes payable to the worker not later than five clear working days before 25 December of that year, and the remaining balance shall be paid to the worker not later than on the last working day of the same year.
Computation of working days?
The Employment Rights Act 2008 expressly provides that in the computation of working days that a worker has worked with the employer the follow criteria are to be taken into consideration, namely:-
- Authorised absence from work;
- Worker being on work premises but not offered work by employer;
- worker is absent on grounds of illness backed by a medical certificate; and
- worker is absent due to injury arising out of and in the course of the performance of his/her duties.
If these criteria are satisfied then the days on which any of the four conditions apply shall be counted as a working day.
What if my employer does not follow the law and do not pay an end-of-year Bonus?
The Employment Rights Act 2008 provides that any person who contravene any provision of the Employment Rights Act 2008 or any regulations made under this Act shall be liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding Rs 25,000 and to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years. Also if any worker feels that his entitlement to his/her end of year bonus has not been respected then he/she should file a complaint at the nearest Labour Office.