How to Calculate Bonuses for Employees in 2022

Photo of author
Written By Obaid Ur Rehman

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

Employee bonuses are crucial for a productive workplace. A bonus encourages your staff to perform better and remain more productive. How do you decide on employee bonuses, though?

There are specific methods for calculating and determining employee incentives, but there are a few other considerations you should make first. As a result, our HR managers and specialists have provided you with the methods for calculating employee bonuses in this blog.

Also read: Optimize your recurring payment management with 9 best practices

What is an Employee Bonus?

how to calculate bonus

A cash incentive provided to an employee for a special event, a contribution to the firm, or any other reason is known as an employee bonus. Businesses may provide bonuses to both high-level executives and low-level staff. In other words, if you’re a committed worker who does a lot of work or is really productive, you’re often rewarded with a bonus.

Bonuses may also be used as a recruiting tool to entice candidates to apply for positions. They can also be given to present workers to show appreciation for their work and to strengthen their loyalty to the business.

What are the Types of Employee Bonuses?

Profit-Sharing Bonus

Employees receive a portion of the company’s profits in the form of this bonus. The company’s earnings during a specific time period serve as the sole basis for the recognition. Employers reward workers with this incentive when the business is profitable.

Employees who meet the requirements depending on their position and compensation structure are granted a portion of the company’s pre-tax profits that have been deposited into a pool. Stocks or cash are both acceptable forms of the profit-sharing bonus.

Holiday Bonus

Typically, during holidays (such Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.), a “holiday bonus” is awarded. This incentive is intended to express gratitude to and reward employees who have contributed to the success of the business.

Spot Bonus

An employee may receive a spot bonus for a number of reasons, including when they achieve a goal or excel at a task. This bonus is often offered by the management or HOD (Head of Department) to express their appreciation for the job the employee did. Furthermore, since spot bonuses are not stipulated in the employment contract, they frequently come as a surprise to the employee. The bonus may come in the form of a gift, cash, or another item.

Referral Bonus

For assisting in the search for and hiring of new staff, current employees receive a bonus. The bonus is often given to the new hire after they have worked for the firm for a set amount of time and completed their duties.

Signing Bonus

As a welcome bonus, a recruiter will provide a one-time payment to a new hire. This incentive is intended to entice someone to join your business. Employers utilize “signing bonuses” to lure top talent away from a rival. As a result, when an employee receives a sign-on bonus, it usually comes as a condition of a contract requiring them to work for the firm for a predetermined period of time.

Retention Bonus

A reward is given to an employee who commits to working for a firm for a set period of time. Managers may give this bonus to employees who stick with their positions and remain productive even after receiving a job offer from a rival company.

Annual Bonus

An employee receives this bonus once a year. The bonus is frequently determined by the employee’s yearly base salary or by a predetermined percentage for the department. At the end of the year, the majority of businesses offer each employee a target bonus that they may get if they reach it.

How Does Calculating Employee Bonuses Work?

The IRS provides two methods for taxing bonuses, which are treated as additional compensation. You can either add the employee’s bonus to their regular paycheck or pay it separately with a 22% withholding.

Pay Bonus by Regular Check

The bonus tax rate is the same as ordinary tax rates if you want to include a bonus in your employee’s regular paycheck. You must also contribute to unemployment and FICA taxes.

Pay Bonus Separately

You may also pay employee incentives in separate instalments, according to the IRS. You have two options for taxing the bonus if you select this option.

  • The initial choice is to withhold 22% of the tax. For instance, Gusto enables free off-cycle incentive payouts while automatically deducting the 22% to help you comply.
  • The second choice is to calculate the amount of tax to be withheld by adding the bonus to your employee’s normal income from the most recent pay period. Calculate the taxes withheld if the bonus was paid after adding them all together. Next, subtract the actual taxes paid for the previous period. What you should omit in that case is the distinction.

Bonus Checks

The tax gross-up approach can also be used to determine how much bonus you can award your staff after taxes. You must increase the bonus in order for this to function.

Here are some tips for raising employee bonuses:

  • State, federal, and local tax rates are all added together.
  • Subtracting all tax rates together from 1 (100%) Tax rate: Net% of employee pay multiplied by net payment.
  • Gross bonus: Net percent x net payment.

How to Calculate Bonuses for Employees?

Sales Commission

Offering sales commission bonuses is one way for businesses to make the sales process more enjoyable. It’s straightforward; all you have to do is multiply your earnings by the bonus %. To calculate any sales commission, follow these steps:

  • Determine how many sales were made.
  • Then find out the total bonus percentage.
  • After that multiply the total sales by the total bonus percentage to get the total number of sales and the bonus percentage.

For instance, if you make approximately $10,000 in sales, your company will give you a 5% commission of that money. Here’s the math:

The sum of $10,000 x.05 = $500.

Percent of Salary

If you’re a manager or department head who decides on bonuses, you must take each employee’s salary and other compensation into account. If required, refer to the pay projection from previous year. Generally, it ought to be determined by how much each person brings in on their own. Take the following actions:

  • Find out the employee’s pay.
  • What is the percentage?
  • Multiply the employee’s compensation by a specified number, more of a percentage.

If an employee makes approximately $40,000 a year, and the bonus percentage is 3%. Then this is the percent of salary:

In this example, $40,000 x.03 = $1,200

Sign-on bonus

Most of these incentives are paid at flat rates. However, you’ll need to do some math if you receive the bonus in lower quantities. Divide the contract duration by the bonus amount after determining the length of the agreement. Take the next actions:

  • When you sign up for the service, be sure you are aware of the cost.
  • Establish the length of the contract.

If there’s a $1,000 sign-on fee for a job, and the bonus will be paid for five months, then the exact calculations are:

1,000/5 = $200

How Do Bonuses Work with Payroll?

Employers might award bonuses for a variety of reasons. A bonus usually falls into one of two categories:


These bonuses are not promised and are given at the employer’s sole discretion. There is no expectation from the employer that a bonus will be given, and neither the sum nor the timing of the bonus have been made known in advance. The employer has the discretion to provide spot bonuses and milestone awards.

No discretion:

These incentive-based salaries are outlined in your employment agreement. If you fulfill specific criteria, such as a performance quota, you frequently receive a bonus. If you fulfill the requirements of the contract, the bonus will be a component of your compensation. Signing and retention incentives are examples of nondiscretionary compensation.

Certain perks come with a guarantee. The bonus amount is not guaranteed, despite the fact that the bonus itself is. Check your employment contract for any rewards that were specified. Find out from a human resources specialist if your firm determines bonuses as a fixed rate or as a percentage of your pay.

How Are Bonuses Taxed?

You can calculate withholding using either the aggregate or percentage method.

The Percentage Method

Simply deduct the 22% tax from all additional compensation that is less than $1 million. This rate is post-2017. It also applies to bonuses given in 2021 and 2022 because it is anticipated to endure through the end of 2025. This is what the IRS refers to as the “percentage approach.” This rate results in a $660 withholding on a $3,000 bonus.

The Aggregate Method

The usual pay, bonus pay, and the IRS withholding tables are all used to calculate the aggregate method of withholding.

The regular revenue is then subtracted at the same rate. Your total withholding on bonus and regular income is then reduced by this amount.

Assume your base pay is roughly $1,000 and your withholding is $50 to keep things simple. Then your management leader must give you a $3,000 bonus all at once.

Bottom Line

A team that is motivated and effective is a company’s most valuable asset. A team that is motivated will always be devoted, obedient, and most importantly, productive. The best method to keep your divisions competitive is to offer bonuses to your staff.

Leave a Comment