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Bah Humbug?

Did you get a holiday bonus this year? If so, you were clearly in the minority. Hewitt Associates, the big HR consulting firm, says that nearly two-thirds of U.S. organizations decided not to offer a bonus to employees over this holiday season.

Why? For one thing, nearly half of the companies polled in the Hewitt survey have never offered a holiday bonus. Some 17 percent of the organizations “discontinued their program.” Of those that did away with the holiday bonus, 52% did so between 2000 and 2003 — fairly tough years for most businesses. Another 42% cancelled their bonuses in the 1990s.

Should companies offer bonuses at all? Or do they merely become entitlements that are expected but have little or no effect?

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