Should employees expect a holiday bonus? Here’s what the experts say

After a year of businesses closing their doors, reducing staff, and asking employees to work from home, you might be wondering if you can expect a holiday bonus this year. 

In 2019, about 66% of employers expected to give holiday bonuses to their staff. 

The problem this year is holiday bonuses are usually tied to the company’s performance throughout the year. And, this year has been devastating for many U.S. businesses. 

“There’s a good chance your employer may not be able to put extra cash in your paycheck this holiday season,” wrote CNBC

Unless your employer has flatly stated otherwise, it is probably wise to not expect a holiday bonus this year as companies struggle to recoup lost revenue from a tumultuous 2020. 

If you do get one, consider it icing on the cake. 

How to prepare for no bonus

If your company cannot give out bonuses this holiday season, it might come as a bit of a financial shock. But, there are sensible ways to prepare for this lack of additional cash flow. 

First, control gift giving. The average person spends almost $1,000 on holiday gifts. But, that doesn’t mean you need to continue that trend this year. Be clear with your family and friends that you plan to spend a bit less this year. Chances are they will understand because they are probably dealing with a very similar situation on their end. 

Second, save travel expenses. Many of us aren’t traveling this year due to COVID. Instead of spending the money that we would have spent on airplane tickets or rental cars, simply pocket the cash instead. In some cases, this can recover a good portion of your would-be bonus. 

Third, create a financial status report. Use this opportunity to fully evaluate your financial situation. For example, if you generally count on your bonus as a part of your salary, you might be spending yourself too thin. If the lack of a bonus will hurt, then chances are your finances can use a little work. Saving more and spending less can make a big difference. 

Fourth, resolve to spend less money every week. If you make New Years Resolutions, then make a resolution to spend less money in 2021, and track it weekly. Weekly tracking can keep you honest with more frequent feedback about how closely you are keeping to your resolution. 

Notable holiday bonuses in 2020

Not every company is cutting out bonuses. In fact, a couple has made national news with their holiday bonus plans. 

If you are a front-line worker at Amazon, you will probably see a nicely-wrapped gift in your paycheck this holiday season. The online retailer has pledged over $500 million in bonuses to delivery people, warehouse workers, and other essential staff during this holiday season. 

This year, Amazon set sales records as Americans scooped up more things online to avoid traveling to stores. In fact, Amazon reported revenue of nearly $90 billion…in Q2 alone. 

U.S. employees “who are employed by the company from December 1 to December 31 will qualify for a bonus of $300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees,” Amazon wrote on their blog. 

Ryder, one of South Florida’s oldest employers and known nationwide for truck rentals, is paying 30,000 U.S. employees a healthy $500 to $1,000 bonus this year, a move that totals over $30 million.