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Hungarians enjoy generous Christmas bonuses, study finds

A recent Paylab survey looked at the prevalence of bonuses in the holiday period in European countries. While receiving a bit of extra cash is not a common practice in businesses, Paylab says in a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal that Hungarians receive the most generous bonuses of all countries surveyed, amounting to up to 91% of their basic monthly salary.

Employers more often choose other forms of non-financial benefits, such as Christmas dinners and parties, St Nicholas Day celebrations for employees’ children, small gifts or gift vouchers, according to Paylabʼs findings.

Among the surveyʼs sample group, Christmas bonuses are most widespread in Croatia, where up to 44% of employees receive such a bonus, but the actual amount of the bonus itself is not so high. Typically, the bonus is around 23% of a Croat’s basic monthly salary, which is a gross bonus of around EUR 185 on average. Christmas bonuses are also widespread in Slovenia, with a third of employees receiving one; the amount is a bit higher than in Croatia at roughly 31% of the basic monthly salary (EUR 422 on average).

In the Balkans, Christmas bonuses are somewhat less common in Bosnia and Herzegovina (15%) and Serbia (8%), but the percentages of the basic salary are much higher than in Croatia or Slovenia. In Bosnia, a Christmas bonus typically amounts to 78% of the basic monthly salary (EUR 625), while in Serbia it is up to 86% (EUR 481). 

In Central Europe, Christmas bonuses are less common, but the amount of the bonus itself is much more generous. People can certainly look forward to a bigger shopping bill when they receive a gross bonus of EUR 720-850 on average (except in Poland, where the bonus is not so generous). About 19% of employees receive this bonus in Poland, and 17% in Slovakia, followed by 14% in the Czech Republic, and 13% in Hungary.

Bonuses/commission are optional salary components that are largely understood as a profit-sharing bonus and are individually defined based on achieving specific goals, explains the press release. They are typically paid at the end of the year once it is known if a business has generated the desired level of profit. However, the study notes, there are also companies that pay these bonuses out on a quarterly or biannual basis, or once a project is finished.

In general, yearend bonuses are the most widespread and generous in management positions, particularly among executive management, given they are often connected to the achievement of defined objectives.

Between 21% and 45% of people in top management report that they receive yearend bonuses that often exceed twice their basic monthly salary. All employees in this group work at the highest levels of management in various companies, from small family-owned companies to large corporations. Yearend bonuses are also common in low and middle-management, but are more modest.

Among the monitored countries, yearend bonuses are most widespread in the countries of Central Europe, where around a quarter of employees receive an average bonus of 69% to 86% of their basic monthly salary.