Why isn’t our company giving us a 13th cheque?

Friday December 28 2018

Moses Ssesanga, Head Human Resource Monitor

Moses Ssesanga, Head Human Resource Monitor Publications Limited 

By Moses Sessanga

Our senior managers keep promising an end of year 13th cheque, year in, year out, but I have never seen it. I have been looking forward to news about the 13th cheque this month. We received our December salary on 15th of the month, I expected the 13th cheque to be included but it wasn’t. I had budgeted for this money and now that it may not come through, I feel frustrated. I thought we made a lot of profit and because we all work extra hard, we would finally get the bonus. How can I directly ask the HR and other top managers for it? Or is it that they are under no obligation to fulfill such a promise? San

Dear San,
Many organisations promise a 13th cheque to their employees but this has terms and conditions attached. The 13th cheque is a bonus payment to staff, equivalent of an employee’s gross salary hence the term 13th, because a year is composed of 12 months.

The 13th cheque is usually promised when the business has achieved predetermined goals usually termed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs include financial targets which include revenue and expenditure goals which have to be met.
When these goals are achieved, its presumed that the business would be financially liquid to afford a 13th cheque to all its employees without pain.

The 13th cheque has to be self financing, that is, its paid out of money the business has made over and above budget.
If budgeted revenues have not been met, it is almost impossible to pay the additional cheque.

Therefore, the reason why your organisation has been promising a 13th cheque in vain is most likely that the business has not met its financial goals during the year.