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How to Write a Bonus Request Letter

You might be due for a well-deserved bonus if you’ve been crushing it at work lately. While some companies hand out bonuses annually, others give them as recognition for a job well done on a specific project. 

If you think a bonus is in order, you should document your reasoning and make an official request using a bonus request letter. We’ll explain how to write a letter that clearly outlines your case and gives you the best chance of getting approved for an additional influx of cash you’ve worked hard for.

What is a bonus request letter?

A bonus request is a professionally worded letter that explains why you deserve a bonus. It highlights your accomplishments and the value you bring to the company. 

A bonus request letter is typically emailed and directed to your boss and HR department. An additional copy may be provided in writing.

Why it’s important to send a request asking for a bonus

These days, most companies aren’t financially able to hand out bonuses frivolously. If you want the extra pay, you need to prove that you deserve it. A bonus request letter helps you make your case clearly, with specific examples of how your work justifies the additional compensation. 

A bonus letter is also necessary to create documentation of your request. This is helpful for both the company and for you to keep on hand. 

When should you send a bonus request letter

When you’ve exceeded expectations

The most common reason companies give bonuses is to reward employees for exceptional performance. Some examples include exceeding a stretch goal, putting in extra hours on an important project, or bringing in a valuable new client. 

When you’ve established an outstanding track record

Not all bonuses are tied to a particular achievement. If you’ve been an all-star on your team for a long time, it’s in your employer’s best interest to provide incentives encouraging you to stay with the company. A bonus is one way they can recognize your ongoing contributions. 

When you’ve met previously outlined requirements

Some bonuses are part of a formal incentive plan offered by the company. This could include a sign-on bonus offered during the hiring process, a referral bonus for bringing in a candidate who was successfully hired, or a bonus tied to the company’s profits. 

If these bonuses aren’t automatically tacked onto your paycheck, you may need to use a request letter to prompt the company to pay them out. 

What to include in a bonus request letter

Gracious opening

Use a professional greeting to address the recipient. It may be appropriate to start with a thank you for the opportunities you’ve received as an employee of the company.

Your basis for the request

Communicate what prompted you to ask for a bonus, like the big project you brought across the finish line or the sales goal you met.

Supporting details

Provide additional information that strengthens your case. Numbers and percentages are great to use here, like ‘referred two new clients’ or ‘maintained a 98% customer success rating.’

An invitation for discussion

You’ll likely need to have an in-person conversation with your boss regarding the details of a potential bonus, so state that you’d welcome the opportunity.

A respectful sign-off

Use a professional closing like ‘best’ or ‘sincerely.’

What you should omit

  • Pushy language. Your letter shouldn’t sound like an ultimatum (even if it is!). Instead. Use your strong work history to make an ironclad argument. 
  • Reasoning based on your length of employment. Simply working somewhere for a long time doesn’t make a strong case for a bonus. Even if it is your company’s custom to provide longevity bonuses (i.e. five years, ten years, etc.), you should still highlight the achievements you’ve made during that time when making your request.

Sample bonus request letter

Mr. Sheridan, 

First, thank you for giving me the opportunity to take the lead on the MacIver project. I know it’s an important account and I value your trust in me to deliver an excellent campaign. 

The campaign delivered a very high ROI, netting the client over $50,000 in sales and bringing in approximately 225 new customers. The leaders at MacIver were very pleased and renewed their contract with us for an additional year. 

In light of these results and my upcoming five-year anniversary with the firm, I wanted to discuss the possibility of a performance bonus. Could we add it to the agenda for our month-end meeting? I would greatly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to many more rewarding years with the company. 


Jason Morales

Before sending your letter, be sure to consider the climate at the company and whether it’s a suitable time to ask for a bonus. If there’s recently been news of layoffs or other financial troubles, it’s likely not a good time to ask for more money, and making the request could reflect poorly upon you.