On top of the salary
The thirteenth month, also known as the end-of-year bonus, is a financial incentive to motivate employees. It makes a job with a particular employer more attractive. Companies that provide the premium in their pay packages give their employees an extra sum of money on top of the usual salary at the end of the year, without any additional performance being required in return.
Also read: (Slightly) more white-collar workers will receive a higher profit premium this year.
For everyone or for no one
Whether you are entitled to an end-of-year bonus depends on the sector or company in which you work. In some sectors, the thirteenth month is included in a collective labor agreement, which means that your employer is obliged to pay out the bonus. But the right can just as well be granted at company level. Then it is usually stated in a company collective labor agreement, in the employment regulations or in your contract.
In any case, it is not something you have much to say about, because the negotiations on this topic happen above your head. If it has been decided to award the bonus, all employees are entitled to it. In other words, you cannot acquire the thirteenth month individually, apart from your colleagues.
However, additional conditions may be attached. These also apply to everyone. Consider, for example, sufficiently good operating results or a certain seniority in the company. If you resign yourself, you may also lose your right to the premium for that year. Such conditions must always be noted somewhere.
What types of bonus are there? Anyone who performs well as an employee can – in addition to their fixed monthly salary – also receive a variable salary.
In contrast to fringe benefits such as meal vouchers or a bicycle allowance, you do have to go through the tax authorities in the case of the thirteenth month. After all, this bonus is considered a salary, and since it is an exceptional surplus, unfortunately an even higher tax applies than on your usual monthly salary. The bonus is also subject to RSZ, so you will have less net of it than if the same gross amount had been paid out in ‘normal’ wages.
The precise calculation differs from company to company, as does the amount of the gross premium. This often concerns one average gross monthly salary for the past year, hence the term ’13th month’. But it could just as well be a percentage of that or a fixed, lump sum amount. In that case, strictly speaking, we do not speak of a thirteenth month, but the umbrella term end-of-year bonus is more correct.
How do you ensure a higher gross salary? Eight steps to the salary you deserve.
Impact on your pay package
A thirteenth month is considered a special salary and you pay a lot of taxes on it, but the sum does not count towards the calculation of your pension or holiday pay. These payments will therefore not be higher than if you do not receive an end-of-year bonus. It is therefore a nice extra that has no influence on your finances or other fringe benefits. Unless otherwise stated in your contract, of course.
On the other hand, your employer will take it into account when evaluating your salary package, for example when you request a raise or an extension. If you already receive a thirteenth month, your chance of (quickly) acquiring an extra bonus or benefit is, if possible, somewhat smaller.
Extra-legal conditions: what are they worth in concrete terms, converted into euros?
That leaves one important question: when can you expect the amount to be in your account? The term end-of-year bonus generally provides the most correct answer, because your employer usually pays the bonus at the same time as your December salary. This way you can make a strong start to the new year.
However, because there is no general rule, your company may pay out the premium at a different time, but that will in any case be well before the Easter bells ring. When exactly, please read it in your contract or ask your manager.
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