It’s Saturday morning; you’re up early and the sun is shining brightly. You’re sipping your coffee (all black of course) and planning to head to the office. You’ve got to make it swiftly, and so far, things seem to be running smoothly. It’s almost 7 am and you’ve already gotten past the dread of traffic. Your boss promised that if you checked in a couple of Saturdays and handled the paperwork, you’d get a bonus at the end of the month.
So there you are, engrossed in heaps and piles of reports, hopeful that you’ll get some extra bucks at the end of the month. This will certainly make grocery shopping a breeze! But wait a minute, you’ve been working at your company for the past 3 years, and come to think of it, you’ve never really gotten a pay rise. Could your boss be taking your exceptional talents for granted?
The Underhand tactics of your employer
With the current tough economic times, businesses, especially SMEs, are using bonuses as ‘hidden pay rise’. That is, employees are given bonuses based on their work ethic, overtime, proactiveness, or just their general good conduct.
In fact, it’s become such a widely practiced activity that most employees are unaware that they have been psychologically geared to refrain from requesting a raise. In some cases, employers even give mega-bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars!
So let’s do the math…
Are you being ripped off? You just might be. So let’s divulge a little deeper. Say in a year, you get an average of three bonuses according to each quarter. And let’s say that each bonus is $2500. So for the whole year, you’ll have an extra $7500.
But remember in your initial job contract, there was a clause stating specifically that you were to receive a $900 pay rise each month after successfully working for 3 years. That would amount to a total of $10,800 a year. In short, your employer is saving an extra $3300 by giving you bonuses instead of fulfilling the terms and conditions of your contract!
But why do we let them get away with it?
It’s simple really; they’ve conditioned you to believe that the bonus is a reward. You think of it as something that you shouldn’t even have in the first place. As a sort of ‘ thanks’ by your employer for all the tremendous work that you’re doing.
And that’s why you’ll find that most employees shun from asking their bosses for a raise. In fact, some employers are even confident enough to remind you of the bonus being handed to you from the ‘kindness of their heart.’
What you can do to set things straight
Before approaching this situation, you’ve got to keep a cool head and weigh your options. First of all, what type of employer do you have? If he or she is down to earth, it’s best to sit them down and clear the air as well as propose your request. Perhaps both of you can come up with an elaborate structure on ways to fulfill the particulars of a pay rise in your contract.
In the event that your employer is rather hot-tempered, you can also team up with other employees who feel just as aggrieved as you are and send your boss an official letter requesting a pay rise as initially promised in your contracts.
Alternatively, if worst comes to worst, it would be best that you access the services of a lawyer and take your employer to court, though this is definitely one of the more aggressive methods of handling the situation. It might result in you being fired, so it should be a risk that you’re willing to take if you would like to move on to another job while still be rightfully compensated.
Your two cents
In the end, we advise you to think carefully about which step you would like to take. Though we hope in the future that such devious trends might be put to bed. Hopefully, new rules and regulations will be implemented to prohibit employers from extorting their hires using such underhand techniques.
As for now, we urge you to think critically about the next bonus you receive. If it’s been a while since you got a pay rise, perhaps it’s time you raised questions about that bonus paycheck!