I was scrounging through old bookmarks recently when I rediscovered World Wide Words, Michael Quinlan's online newsletter of unusual words. His current edition features "malus," a word that ought to be more common in American business given the disastrous mismanagement of many companies:
Though malus isn't in any general dictionary that I've consulted, it's also a fairly common term in the world of banking, insurance and contracts. A malus is the opposite of a bonus -- you might call it a forfeit or a clawback instead. It's receiving more attention as finance houses seek to rein in excessive payments to senior staff (it was in the news last week because the Swiss bank UBS has introduced malus provisions for its executives). It turns up in particular in the form bonus-malus system, for a contract that rewards success but penalises failure.