A discretionary bonus is extra pay that a company agrees to provide to an employee for specific or unexpected situations. These cash payments are not part of the employee’s contract, and the employee should not expect to receive the bonus regularly. Discretionary bonuses are often used to reward exceptional performance, contribution, or accomplishment that goes above and beyond the employee’s usual realm of job duties. Many companies choose to give discretionary bonuses once or twice per year, but are under no obligation to do so by law. Some contracts might refer to these bonuses as discretionary compensation performance recognition awards and payments.
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