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Signing Bonuses: Not just for the rich and famous anymore

Companies are desperate for employees and their signing bonuses show it.

INDIANAPOLIS — If you are thinking about switching jobs, now might be a good time.

Companies are desperate for employees and their signing bonuses show it.

Who is offering the extra money?

Business is busy at Kittle's Furniture.

That's why they need more employees sooner rather than later. And that's proving to be difficult, said director of operations Tyler Baker.

"We couldn't get anyone to even come in an interview, you know, so that was a huge, huge problem," Baker said.

To get people in the door, Kittle's is offering a $1,000 signing bonus for picker drivers and truck drivers.

And they're not the only company with that idea.

If you search the phrase 'signing bonus' on job sites, you will see other companies doing the same thing:

  • Amazon is offering package sorters a $1,000 bonus.
  • Red Robin servers and line cooks, $1,000.
  • Bob Evans management jobs, $2,000.
  • School Bus Drivers for First Student, $2,000.

Keeping employees from leaving

While signing bonuses help to attract new employees, keeping them is equally as important especially in a competitive job market.

Delivery coordinator Quinten Brooks has worked at Kittle's for a decade.

"I like the place, probably why I've been around so long," Brooks laughed.

Employee turnover, he says, can be tough.

"It's kind of hard to get them to stay here. We do physical labor here. We're out on the road, we work a lot," Brooks said.

That's why they're doing more to please employees than just bonuses, Baker said.

The company increased certain employee pay between 15 and 25 percent, and re-worked shifts.

"They actually work on a four-day work schedule, which a lot of folks like," Baker said.

How do bonuses work?

Bonuses are considered supplemental income and subject to a federal withholding at a 22 percent flat rate. In addition to the 22 percent federal tax, you’ll also pay Social Security tax (or FICA) and Medicare tax. State income tax will also apply.

Bonuses are usually paid out in increments over time. It may be half at signing, and half after three months.

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