Disney to Give $1,000 Cash Bonus to 125,000 Employees

Bob Iger - 2014 Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Getty - H 2018
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To be eligible, an employee needs to have just three weeks on the job.

Just over a month after its $52.4 billion deal was announced to acquire much of the 21st Century Fox assets, Disney CEO Bob Iger is offering 125,000 employees a one-time cash bonus of $1,000 and pledging millions of dollars more to an education initiative. 

The conglomerate said Tuesday it will pay the $1,000 bonuses to all full- and part-time non-executive employees in two installments for those who are non-union, one in March and another in September. Distribution plans for union employees are still to be worked out.

To be eligible, an employee needs to have just three weeks on the job — hired no later than Jan. 1.

Disney is one of several companies, including AT&T and Comcast, that have issued bonuses to employees since President Donald Trump signed into law a lower tax rate for corporations, though, unlike the others, Disney made no indication in its press release that its bonuses are related to tax reform.

In a letter from Iger to employees obtained by the The Hollywood Reporter, however, lower taxes are cited: "Dear fellow employee," the letter reads, "as a result of the recently enacted tax reform, I am pleased to announce two new initiatives for our U.S.-based employees."

Beyond the one-time cash bonuses, Disney is making a $50 million initial investment in a program designed to cover college tuition for roughly 88,000 hourly employees. After that, Disney will keep the initiative going with up to $25 million annually. The new program is in addition to an existing one that offers reimbursements to full-time employees taking college courses.

“I am proud we are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program,” Iger said in a statement. “I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact.”