How to Ask for a Christmas Bonus

Asking for a Christmas bonus needs to be considered well in advance. There are several factors involved, and you need to be able to make your request with a full understanding of how and why bonuses are paid.

No employer pays bonuses purely on principle. They’re budget items, and they need approval from top management. They also usually relate to a policy of payment which decides who gets paid what. 

You should also be aware that some employers are very cautious, and in some cases unreceptive on the subject of any form of bonus. If the employer doesn’t usually pay Christmas bonuses, there’s probably a good business or financial reason for that situation.

You therefore don’t just ask for a Christmas bonus in so many words. You’ll need to gauge employer interest in the idea, and develop the concept through the right channels. There are several ways of getting a Christmas bonus in these cases, but they all have to go through the management system, and they must be realistic, fitting into the budget.

How to Approach the Christmas Bonus idea

The demand for realism starts with checking out existing bonus policies. If there are no bonus policies, you may find yourself having to raise an unpopular topic if you proceed with the Christmas bonus idea. Do not step on any toes, and respect the employer’s position regarding these policies.

Before even mentioning the Christmas bonus to your employer, you will need to consider some very basic issues:

  1. How much should the bonus be?
  2. Who should get what, based on salary?
  3. What would that cost the employer?
  4. Does the amount look reasonable?

If your idea of a 1% Christmas bonus is likely to cost the employer $500,000, you need to think about how that figure is going to look like as a working proposition. The net value of a bonus proposal is the real issue.

Is that a good business proposition? Because if it isn’t, the idea won’t fly for a second. The employer isn’t getting any more value than if they paid nothing. Employers need a reason to pay a bonus, not just an unsupported additional cost based on the time of year. “Something for nothing” usually isn’t a great selling point.

How to get your Christmas Bonus

The two most common ways of getting a Christmas bonus are:

1. As a suggestion for staff incentives to management. Normal bonuses are often paid on a pro rata basis, and the payment of the bonus is based on performance which offsets costs. This is a typical bonus scenario, usually acceptable to employers as a productivity and morale booster.

2. As part of salary negotiation, you can suggest a Christmas bonus on a pro rata basis rather than request an additional salary increase. This type of tradeoff is a useful negotiation option, and will always be considered as a reasonable approach to salary demands.

As you can see, both options deliver value for the employer, and define the basis of payment. That gives management a working principle to consider, and that’s where the decision can be made on a business basis. Keep your idea firmly based on the business angle, and you’ll get your Christmas bonus.