A Christmas bonus is a gift that is given at different celebrations, including Christmas. In many countries, however, the concept is often specifically associated with an additional payment that an employer makes to its employee.
The bonus, in this sense, is a remuneration that the worker receives beyond the twelve monthly salaries he receives per year. In general, it is an extra salary that is divided into two: in this way, the worker receives half a bonus in the middle of the year and half a bonus at the end of the year, at the times normally associated with the summer and winter holidays.
The origin of the Christmas bonus is believed to be found in a tradition of the ancient Romans who, in the New Year, approached monarchs with gifts to convey good wishes to them. This custom was transferred to other cultures, in different contexts. Thus, in various nations, the extraordinary remuneration received by employees so that they can meet the usual expenses that arise at the end of the year began to be called Christmas bonuses.
It is known that every year millions of people invest large amounts of money in the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners, as well as in the corresponding lunches, and this without neglecting the Three Kings Day, very important in Spain, for example. We are not talking about the amount of a dinner in a restaurant, but about small fortunes to entertain the whole family. If we add to this the cost of gifts, then we get a good idea of the usefulness of the Christmas bonus.
That said, the Christmas bonus is intended for these people to support the expenses of the festivals, and therefore they rely on their existence to celebrate their meetings normally, often neglecting the rest of the wages instead of preparing a preventive savings for potential arrears in the payment of the extraordinary amount. This often leads to the loan application, simply to face the aforementioned feasts.
The Christmas bonus can be established by law or through a private collective agreement. If we take the case of Argentine legislation, the Christmas bonus is considered as a complementary annual salary that is paid in two installments: one on June 30 and the other on December 18. This means that a worker, in Argentina, must receive thirteen annual wages.
There are, however, other ways to set the bonus. In Costa Rica, the Christmas bonus arises from the sum of the wages that the worker received between December of the previous year and November of the current year; then said sum is divided by twelve. The result is the Christmas bonus, which is paid before December 20.
It should be noted that people who work in black, that is, without having been properly and legally discharged by their employer, do not usually enjoy the Christmas bonus, as well as basic rights such as paid vacations. Similarly, in many employment relationships that at first glance could be classified as legal or blank, employers seek all possible means to delay the payment of the Christmas bonus to their workers.
The Christmas bonus is one of the points that companies try to manipulate the most, and this can result in delays of several months or even more than a year. To fight any type of abuse of power, employees should seek professional advice that provides them with the necessary protection and tells them where and how to make their claims to enjoy all their rights.