Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Bonus Definition:

A premium offered or given to induce someone to perform a service.

Related Terms: Wages, Salary

In Friends of Lansdowne Inc. v. the City of Ottawa, Justice Lang of the Court of Appeal for Ontario adopted these words to judicially describe bonus (at ¶41):

"... a boon or gift over and above what is normally due.... a premium or benefit offered or given, especially by government, to induce someone to take action or perform a service."

Much will depend on the contractual context. For example, in Walling v Plymouth Manufacturing, Justice Minton of the Circuit Court of Appeals suggested:

"A bonus is a gratuity to which the recipient has no right to make a demand."

A better view is that of Justce Hamilton of the same Court, in Willkie v IRA:

"The definition of bonus ... is a boon over and above what is normally due as remuneration to the receiver, money or its equivalent, given as a premium or as an extra or irregular remuneration in consideration of offices performed or to encourage their performance"



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