What Employers Need To Know About Christmas Bonuses And Gifts

What Employers Need To Know About Christmas Bonuses And GiftsTis the season to be jolly’ and with Christmas looming just around the corner, you might want to show that it’s not all work and no play, by giving out gifts to your staff. Although a simple gesture, gifts and bonuses can be a good way to show appreciation, but there are some points that employers should keep in mind, before dishing out any gifts or bonuses to members of staff.

What Are The Benefits Or Bonuses?

Improve Staff Retention

If you are looking to keep your talented staff, a reward at Christmas can go a long way to making them feel valued and appreciated. It is a good way to say thanks for doing a good job and a recognition for efforts. At a time when there are serious skills shortages, particularly in our industries, and a high demand for good candidates, you need to be prepared to go the extra mile to keep the talent you have. A reward of this nature can instantly lift spirits and may even give staff another reason to remain with your agency.

Increase Motivation Levels

You can use Christmas gifts/bonuses as a way of motivating staff. For instance, you could offer them a bonus for achieving a specific goal, meeting targets or completing projects. These can act as important motivators; benefitting both the business and the team.

Bonuses And Gifts: What You Need To Be Aware Of

There are some restrictions on giving out gifts and bonuses in the workplace, so you need to be aware of these before you decide to treat your staff.

Tax Implications

As with everything, there may be tax implications associated with giving out gifts in the workplace. It is not as simple as handing over a gift, like you would do with a friend or family member, there is a bit more to it. In the case of gifts, there are no issues if it is less than £50, which would usually be the case anyway, unless you are feeling particularly flush! Unfortunately, bonuses are taxable, just as any other payment would be.

Have a look at GOV.UK for more information on Expenses and benefits: Christmas bonuses.


If you head up your department or creative team it is advisable to check with more senior management whether there are any existing policies in place regarding gifts in the workplace. Check these prior to agreeing anything or you might find yourself in trouble!


It is important to be fair when giving out bonuses or gifts as otherwise you could end up with conflict in the workplace and it may also affect your retention levels. For instance, if you are giving your Marketing Manager a £500 Christmas bonus, but not your Marketing Sales Executive, why? It is because they haven’t met objectives? Were the objectives clear? You need to be prepared to answer any questions on why you are distributing bonuses or gifts, unless they are being issued across the board.


Everyones’ idea of what is appropriate and not is different, so when it comes to Christmas gifts in the workplace it is best to play safe: give chocolates, wine or vouchers. You may think a mug with a slogan commenting on the laziness of your staff member is appropriate, but they may fail to see the funny side. It is always better to be safe than sorry or you may end up causing more damage than good!

Do you usually give out bonuses or gifts to your staff at Christmas? What impact do you think this gesture has on members of staff? We would love to hear about your experiences!