Walmart is the latest employer to hand out one-time bonuses to all its workers:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would raise starting pay to $11 per hour for all its U.S. employees and hand out one-time bonuses as competition for low-wage workers intensifies and new tax legislation will add billions to the retailer’s profits….The company said the salary change would add $300 million to its annual expenses and it expects to take a $400 million charge in the current quarter for the one-time bonus. The amount of the bonus will vary based on length of service, reaching up to $1,000 for an individual with 20 years of service.
As usual, this is supposedly due to the transformational magic of the tax cut bill. Fine. But what’s the deal with the $1,000 bonus? Every company that announces something includes a $1,000 bonus. Is this just a bizarre coincidence? Some kind of herd effect? Or did the idea originate somewhere? It can hardly be a coincidence that so many companies are suddenly handing out exactly $1,000 to all their employees.
UPDATE: Walmart is also closing 63 Sam’s Club stores and laying off hundreds of workers. Oddly, there is no mention of whether this is also due to the tax bill.