The practice of paying bonus in India appears to have originated during First World War when certain textile mills granted 10% of wages as war bonus to their workers in 1917. In certain cases of industrial disputes demand for payment of bonus was also included. In 1950, the Full Bench of the Labour Appellate evolved a formula for determination of bonus. A plea was made to raise that formula in 1959. At the second and third meetings of the Eighteenth Session of Standing Labour Committee (G. O.I.) held in New Delhi in March/April 1960, it was agreed that a Commission be appointed to go into the question of bonus and evolve suitable norms. A Tripartite Commission was set up by the Government of India to consider in a comprehensive manner, the question of payment of bonus based on profits to employees employed in establishments and to make recommendations to the Government. The Government of India accepted the recommendations of the Commission subject to certain modifications. To implement these recommendations the Payment of Bonus Ordinance, 1965 was promulgated on 29th May, 1965. To replace the said Ordinance the Payment of Bonus Bill was introduced in the Parliament.
The Payment of Bonus Bill having been passed by both the Houses of Parliament received the assent of the President on 25th September, 1965. It came on the Statute Book as THE PAYMENT OF BONUS ACT, 1965 (21 of 1965).