No Bonus in Most Employee Stockings This Year

December 14, 2000 ( - Nearly two-thirds of employers do not currently offer a holiday bonus, according to a new survey, while over half (52%) never offered a holiday-related bonus.

Twelve percent of the 452 companies surveyed have discontinued existing bonus programs, more than 80% in the past ten years, according to Hewitt Associates, who conducted the study. Most respondents cited cost as the primary reason for discontinuance, as well as the current trend to tie all employee rewards to company/individual performance.

The Hewitt Associates 2000-2001 U.S. Salary Increase Survey found that 78% of respondent companies currently have at least one type of performance-related award program.

Of the 36% that have a holiday bonus/gift program:

  • 50% host a party during the December holiday season
  • 34% award a cash bonus
  • 31% give employees a gift certificate to a local retailer
  • 23% reward workers with a gift of food

Some provide more than one type of holiday bonus.

The survey found that cash awards tend to be the most expensive bonus, as follows:

  • Cash ($324/employee on average)
  • Parties ($57/employee)
  • Gift certificates ($31/employee)
  • Edible gifts ($26/employee)

Most of the companies (70%) providing holiday bonuses this year budgeted less than 1% of payroll for the award, compared with 9.7% budgeted on performance-based plans.