Bah Humbug!!!! No End-of-Year Cheer For Employees*

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Only 29% of small business owners are planning to give bonuses this holiday season according to a survey by American Express OPEN, the company’s small business division. While 29% is up from last year, it is still a big decrease from the 54% of small businesses that planned bonuses for the 2005 holidays. One company New York company, BTB Events & Celebrations Inc., reports that it has not provided employees with bonuses since 2007 but has somehow managed to retain all 66 if its employees.  Cheer gets even lower when one considers holiday parties. Just 35% of small business owners are expecting to host a holiday party-the lowest in the 10-year history of the survey. Some companies such as Prestige Limousine Inc., have in the past, tried to keep the holiday cheer alive by organizing joint parties with other limousine operators to split the cost but have now simply done away with the holiday party. Wage raises are not in a much better position, down from 33% in 2005, only 15% of businesses plan to give wage raises in the holiday season this year. Despite the recovery, employees are still getting paid their 2008 salaries.  Clients do not get a break either, some 43%  of owners are planning purchases for clients this year whereas 70% planned for such purchases in the prior recession.

*Wall Street Journal