Bonus? Incentive? What is the Difference?


When looking at the job description, you will see the words “bonus” and “incentive”. This time I will explain the difference between these two words!

What is a bonus?

Bonus is “Shouyo(賞与)” in Japanese. Companies that do not give out a bonus is getting more and more common recently.

So what exactly is this bonus?
A bonus in Japan is different from the salary paid every week or month. In general it is twice a year; in summer and winter. Carefully check the recruitment information and see whether or not you will receive a bonus and the number of times given. The amount of the bonus and how it is calculated differs among each company. It can be certain months of the base salary, while others depend on the company’s or the individual’s performance. Please ask each company during the interview or after receiving an unofficial offer for details of their bonus system, since each company has their own system. You may also encounter the word “決算賞与(kessan shoyo)” which means bonus after the settlement of the company’s book.

This will be distributed to employees when the company performs well, primarily to reduce tax. Many companies would rather give their employees the money if it will be taken as tax by the government anyways.

What is an incentive?

So what is an incentive?
Incentives are rewards that you can receive in addition to your regular salary when you achieve the goals set by the company. It may be set per month or half a quarter. Sometimes there is a certain amount of money set per contract. It is similar to a bonus in the sense that it depends on the individual’s performance, however incentives cannot be received Some companies have only an incentive system, therefore, only the employees who perform well get rewarded. Some companies reward individuals, but more often it is received by each team or department. Unlike a bonus, incentives are not always given. An annual income example written in recruitment information often indicates “this is how much you will get if you do well” so keep in mind that not all employees receive that much.


Any thoughts? Please remember that bonuses are given out at a fixed time, and incentives only when the goal is achieved. And, keep in mind that the salary displayed may not be reliable so it is better if you ask an employee actually working there. Also, in the case of performance bonus, you may not be able to receive the bonus if you do not perform well. Make sure that you can read the recruiting information correctly to prevent misunderstandings.

投稿者:NSA Staff