Lower-Level Employees Asked to Pitch in for Executives' Christmas Gifts

Gillian Sisley

For some in the workforce, the holiday season can come with resentment towards managers and bosses.

With Christmas just around the corner, employees and employers are preparing for the holiday season and anticipating a much-needed and well-deserved break after another strenuous working year.

That said, there are employees who are turning to the online space to lament about how they are being asked to pitch in for Christmas gifts for CEOs, bosses, or executives at their place of work.

2021 has been a tough year financially for many, with statistics showing 140,000 jobs were lost in the US in December 2020, just as an already struggling population headed into the new year.

On top of that, year-end bonuses are often directly linked to the success of a company over the year, and last December some employees found themselves without holiday bonuses because of the financial strain the company experienced due to the pandemic. Not all employees know if they can expect the same lack of bonuses this coming season.

But to add further insult to injury, employees are taking their issues to social media to explain that not only are they not being given a holiday bonus, but they are also still being asked to pitch in some of their income to buy a Christmas gift for their boss or CEO.

Should those who make the least be expected to buy gifts for those who make the most?

One such example comes from a user, who goes by u/tourettesbtch, on Reddit who published a viral post that addresses this exact conundrum.

She claims that she has never received a Christmas bonus from her work, however, there seems to be a 'mandatory contribution' expected from lower-level employees to buy Christmas gifts for the doctors.

She wrote that she works as a receptionist at a doctor's office, and her job pays $15 per hour. Her manager sent an email recently asking for money from the employees to buy the four doctors in the office gift cards for Christmas. The manager requested $25 from each lower-level employee.

To put that request into some more perspective, mSalary.com states that surgeons can make upwards of $290,000 to $580,000 per year, without including bonuses. Of course, these salaries will vary based on location and expertise, but the gap between making half a million a year and $15/hour is undeniably wide.

To then request that the $15/hour employee fork over part of their income to buy a gift for the high-earners in the office can feel to some employees like salt in an already painful financial wound.

An economic gap that is only continuing to grow.

The salary gap between an average office worker and an executive is a contentious issue in the workforce. The gap is so major that it finds lower-level employees just barely scraping by, while CEOs are able to lavishly and comfortably spend.

ZipRecruiter.com reports that the average salary of a US CEO is $148,709 a year, while it reports that the average salary of a typical office worker is just $26,969 per year.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) also reported that, in 2020, CEOs from the top 300 firms in the US made 351 times more income than an average employee. That is an increase of 1,322% of CEO income since 1987.

With this much of a gap in salary, some employees are reporting feeling overworked and underappreciated. For those already barely scraping by enough to pay their bills, it adds absolute insult to injury to be requested to pitch in extra dollars to get their already wealthy executives a Christmas gift.

One thing is for sure -- the purse strings are going to be tight for many this Christmas season.

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