What's not to like? Scores of companies, including some of the country's biggest employers, are handing out bonuses, announcing with a flourish that they are sharing the windfall from corporate tax cuts with their workers.
A look at the fine print, though, shows that some of the largess is not nearly as large as company news releases suggest.
Consider retailers like Walmart, Lowe's and Home Depot. They've tied the size of bonuses to tenure, so that only employees who have been with the company for 20 years or more will receive the $1,000 maximum that was highlighted in their announcements. Few employees meet that requirement.
The median tenure for retail workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is three years. At Walmart and Home Depot, that work history results in a $250 bonus, and at Lowe's, $200. And nearly a quarter of American wage and salary workers have logged less than a year with their current employer. For them, bonuses at these big retailers will range from $150 to $200.
There may be other qualifications.
Part-time workers at Lowe's, Washington Trust Bancorp and Flushing Financial Corporation, for example, will receive just half the amount promised to full-time workers. At First Merchants, a financial institution, part-timers can get even less, since their share is prorated according to their hours.