Employees Refuse to Finance Christmas Presents for Bosses

Gillian Sisley

Workers are being asked to pull cash from their own pockets to finance Christmas gifts for their bosses, making workplace resentment higher this holiday season.

With Christmas just around the corner, disgruntled employees are voicing their concerns about the enormous wage gap between executives and lower-level employees, and how the holiday season only amplifies that pain point.

In 2020, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported that CEOs from the top three hundred firms in the United States made 351 times more in salary than a typical employee. That is a startling increase of 1,322% of CEO income since 1987.

To add further insult to injury, a survey by Accountemps found that 35% of workers feel more stressed during the holidays. The biggest stresses that were reported were trying to balance work and other duties for the season (32%), returning after the holidays to an increased workload (23%), and fewer coworkers to help with the workload (18%).

These concerns also don't even touch on the financial stresses that this time of year brings. In a survey conducted by Regions Next Step, 42% of Americans indicated that spending money was the biggest stress of the holiday season.

And with these stresses, workers are still being asked to pitch in contributions to buy gifts for their bosses, CEOs and manager. Incidents like this are being reported online by employees of all industries.

One senior manager recently posted on Mumsnet that she refuses to ask her workers to pitch in money for a present for their director, after being asked to do so. Another employee, who works as a receptionist at a doctor's office and makes $15/hour, also stated that they were being asked by their manager to send over $25 so that gift cards could be bought for the doctors.

Should those with the smallest salaries buy gifts for the wealthiest employees in the company?

Another such incident has gone viral on Reddit. A man, who goes by username u/MisterCallegar, turned to Reddit in what can only be described as an outraged rant in the wake of an email he and coworkers received from the HR department.

He explains how HR emailed the entire company asking for employees to pitch in $20 so that the CEO and CTO could receive Christmas presents from their workers. The man vented that any money for gifts he had would go to his kids this holiday season, rather than those who make 5 times what he does in any given month.

There were readers who didn't quite believe the situation was real, and thus as evidence, the author published a redacted screenshot of the very email that inspired the post.

He went on to explain that he doesn't hate working for the company, but he does hate the company's attitude towards its employees, especially those with families, during the Christmas season.

Is it reasonable to ask employees to give gifts to bosses, or is it tacky and insensitive?

In a survey of 1,000 respondents conducted by Office Depot, it was found that 64% of workers bought gifts for their bosses. It was also reported that the median amount spent on managers and supervisors was $30 per gift.

In another Google Consumer Survey taken in 2015, most respondents weren't willing to spend more than $20 on their supervisor's Christmas gift. When most workers are just barely willing to gift $20, the reported incidents above of managers asking that employees gift $20-$25 to bosses just adds insult to injury.

To ask lower-level employees to gift money to bosses only puts a larger spotlight on the massive salary gap between executives and a typical worker. This is a gap that is so major it finds lower-level employees just barely scraping by, while executives are making very comfortable incomes, especially in the holiday season.

This is even more important to take note of when some employees are already reporting feeling overworked and underappreciated, which only makes the request to give more recognition to the higher-up bosses all the more insulting.

What are your thoughts? Are bosses warranted in expecting a gift from employees around the holiday season? Or should it be the other way around, with executives gifting their hard-working employees something during the holidays?

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