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Are year-end bonuses for employees making a comeback?

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More companies are offering up year-end or holiday bonuses to their employees this year than a year ago, according to a survey by a national placement firm.

About 72% of the human-resources executives surveyed by Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that there will be some type of bonus for employees, from goodwill checks of $100 or less to all of a company’s workers to bonuses based on the company’s annual performance, performance-based bonuses only for select employees, or non-monetary gifts to every employee.

Last year, CG&C’s survey indicated that just over half of companies were planning to offer bonuses or gifts to their employees at year’s end.

The survey’s sample size is small — only about 100 responses to an email poll sent out by CG&C last month — so it’s hard to know just how representative it is about nationwide trends.

But, said CEO John A. Challenger, “it is clear, at least among our small sampling of employers, that they are duly recognizing the hard work and achievements of their workforce.”

About 23% of employers in the survey said they would offer a larger bonus this year than in 2011, and almost 70% said bonuses would be abotu the same as a year ago.

“Most employers understand that workers want to be recognized for their contribution to the company,” Challenger said. “It doesn’t have to be a Wall Street-sized bonus check. Many workers would be happy with a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant or store. Many would probably be happy with an extra day or two of paid vacation at the end of the year.”

And many, he added, “are simply happy to have a job in this economy.”

What about you? If you’re a business owner in the Valley — where the economy continues to lag behind other parts of the state and nation — are you planning on providing any sort of holiday or year-end bonus to your workers?

And if you’re an employee, are you itching for a bonus check, a gift card, a basket of fruit or goodies, a holiday party? Or are you, as Challenger suggests, “simply happy to have a job in this economy”?

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