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Really!  Everyone.

Wouldn't that be great news?  When was the last time you got a Christmas bonus from your employer? For me, it has been over 30 years, and then it was just a nice gift from a boss (a ham or turkey), not really a company-paid holiday bonus.

Does anyone anywhere in the United States get bonuses any more? Or have they all been eliminated by profit-maximizing, cost-cutting corporations?

Rather than people being fired for refusing to open up on Thanksgiving or being short-shifted in order to decrease their Christmas holiday pay, what if there were a law that everyone MUST receive a Christmas Bonus, guarantees the minimal amount and date by which it should be paid?  

There is such a law.

There is such a law.... in Mexico.

Here we have the Aguinaldo (ah-gee-NAL-do) or Christmas Bonus, mandated by national labor law.

By law the Christmas bonus in Mexico consists a minimum of 15 days salary paid by December 20th.

This applies to every employee, even your once-a-week housekeeper.  To calculate part time employees' bonus amount, you take the total number of days worked in the past year, divided by 365, multiply the result by 15 and multiply again by the daily salary amount.

Ex:  If you have an employee who works one day a week for $100 pesos,
52 days worked per year / 365 days x 15 x $100 = $213.70 pesos Aguinaldo due to your once-a-week employee.

Employees who have started during the year have their bonus prorated, so that the current employer pays the Aguinaldo for the time worked under that employer. (Required termination pay from the other employer helps make up for missing out on a full year's Christmas bonus for that one year.)

Wood fired bakery, 300 years old
After all those legal details, aren't you interested in that word:  Aguinaldo?  What does it mean?  Roughly translated, it is like "Christmas Caroling."  From Wikipedia:
Aguinaldo music is often performed by what is called parrandas - a casual group of people, often family or friends, who merrily go from house to house taking along their singing.
But the monetary bonus isn't the whole story. The mandatory Christmas bonus is part of a cultural phenomenon:

Ending up the year on a good note and starting the new year on a clean slate.  

The following was written by my good friend K.S. who lived in Mexico for many years and has family roots there going back decades:

While Americans think of a Christmas bonus as money to be spent on Christmas presents, such is not the case in Mexico. Here, the Aguinaldo is used to fund what amounts to an institutionalized superstition....and that is beginning the new year with a (literally) clean slate.

All of a sudden, on Dec. 20, government buildings are closed and the cleaning, fixing and remodeling begins. Those are jobs - and good jobs at that!

The same thing happens in Mexican homes. That Christmas bonus goes to fund a nation-wide spending spree on everything from cleaning supplies to home improvement products.

All leading up to New Year's Eve, when Mexicans greet the new year with a clean slate.

So - don't think that workers are getting two vacation payouts a year. (YM's note: paid vacations are also guaranteed in Mexico!)* Not so. Vacation pay is for rest and relaxation.

The Christmas bonus is to start the new year off with not only a clean individual slate, but with a nice economic boost throughout the country.

* Vacation days required by law:
Year 1 -- 6 days
Year 2 -- 8 days
Year 3 -- 10 days
Year 4 -- 12 days
Year 5 -- 14 days
Year 10 --16 days
Year 15 --18 days
... and two additional days for every 5 years of employment

Wait! There's more!

Holiday Pay:  If a Mexican employee is required to work on an Official Government holiday, triple pay is required.  

Sunday Pay: If a Mexican employee is required to work on a Sunday, pay + 25% is required. If that employee has worked the other six days of the week, the employee is entitled to overtime pay as well as the 25% premium.

Maternity Pay: An employer must pay a pregnant employee six weeks before and six weeks after delivery with full pay.  If she is unable to return to work after full-pay leave, she is entitled to an additional 60 days at half pay.

So, the annual Christmas bonus --- let's call it the End-of-Year bonus to respect all religions --- provides a huge boost not only economically as the money filters through businesses and provides more income, more profits, more sales, more opportunities, it also provides a huge psychological boost.

With extra money in their pockets and cleaned out, cleaned up homes, the new year is greeted as a whole new clean slate upon which to build.

Wouldn't that be such a relief from the constant penny-pinching and profit-hoarding we see in the United States?  Does anyone believe that corporate profits at record high levels and inequality approaching historical all time highs in the United States, that employers absolutely cannot afford to be a bit more generous with our employees?  Can't we all see the benefit of those additional funds circulating throughout the economy even at the lowest levels of income?

Workers holding up the world
Yes, there is another way to live. Most countries in the industrialized world have better employment policies than the United States. Every time someone starts in on me with a bunch of "American Exceptionalism," I know better. Because even in a poorer nation, I've seen better.
Poll

Should all US workers be guaranteed an End-of-Year Bonus?

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| 65 votes | Vote | Results

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