Portage, MI asked in Employment Law for Illinois

Q: Does a company have to pay a bonus you have earned if you leave the company?

My husband has earned a large bonus this year. He has received 3 small payments, and the bulk is to be distributed in February 2022. The contract says that the employee must be employed by the company at the end of the year to receive the last payment. My husband has already secured a new job that will start Jan. 3. He is worried that if he gives the standard 2-week notice, the company will let him go so that he is not employed at year's end. So, my husband plans to tell them that he is leaving on Jan. 3 without giving any notice at all. He is worried that despite the written agreement about the bonus that the company will find some way not to pay him. We are talking about $90,000, so it is not small change if they do not pay him. Is the employee bonus plan legally binding even if he technically is not working in the office on Dec. 31 since his company is closed for the holidays? He is worried they will find some way to deny him what he has rightfully earned.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: If the bonus contract requires your husband to be employed through 2021 to earn the bonus, then it can be denied if he doesn't work through the end of the year. If his new employer is flexible on his start date, you may want to see if his start date can be pushed back to still allow him to give his two-week notice. If he gives his notice now, his employer can terminate him immediately and need not allow him to work through the end of the year.

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