Companies Cutting Back on Christmas Bonuses

Companies Cutting Back on Christmas Bonuses
By: Lauren Keith

Do you have a big office Christmas party to go to this year? Consider yourself lucky if you do. A recent study shows there will be less holiday cheer at offices across the country this year.

Thirteen percent of businesses say they're cutting corners due the economy -- particularly fuel prices. One of those corners they have to cut is the holiday party. Twenty-nine percent of companies say they'll still have a party, but they will spend less money on it. Other employers aren't just cutting out parties-- many are cutting out year-end bonuses.

Others will give employees food, like a turkey or ham, and some will hand out gift cards. But, don't get nervous just yet. Some managers say holiday parties and bonuses are worth the expense--- and they say cutting them out doesn't make things "merry and bright", in the long run.

“We had a band, presents and all that," says Larry Dillon, the plant manager at Dana Corporation.

Things are much different at the Dana Corporation now.For the last two years, the 300 automotive workers here haven't received anything extra during the holidays--- no party, no presents, and no bonus pay.

Corporate management ordered all of its plants to do away with the extras to help offset the rising cost of fuel and steel.

That decision didn't settle well with theCape Girardeau workers.

"A year ago, employees took up their own collection to have their own Christmas party. They did it so they could get together, but also probably, they did it in spite," said Dillon.

Dillon urged his bosses to rethink the Christmas cutbacks, but he didn't have much luck.

"It's such a little expense for what you get out of it-- it goes along way--- I wish they'd be more in tune with that," said Dillon.

Kim McDowell agrees. She says holiday parties are expensive, but she thinks the Southeast Missourian owes their 165-member staff to a lavish meal and gifts.

"We really think that's not where you cut back--on your employees--- you can cut back in other areas, because we appreciate all they've done for us this year," said McDowell.

It's the same mind set at Southeast Hospital . The 1900 employees here can attend one of four catered meals, which are held at the start of each shift, including overnight.

“We found we were able to touch so many employees by having the meal here, as opposed to off-site, where only a few would attend," said Debbie Bowers, Human Resources Director of the hospital.

However, the Schwan's man thinks all managers should just do away with the holiday parties all together.He's got something else on the top of his wish list.

“We deliver food on a daily basis, so food isn't my top priority, definitely cash would be handier,” said Steven Thompson, a Schwan's driver.

The news isn't all bah-humbug. Some of the companies cutting back say they'll donate the money they would have spent on a party to charity.