BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho health care and home products company Melaleuca Inc. announced Thursday that it will be the latest major business to give its workers bonuses in response to President Donald Trump's tax cuts.
Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said in a phone interview that his 2,000 workers will get a one-time bonus of $100 for every year they have worked at the company. On average, Melaleuca employees stay at the company eight years — which would result in an $800 bonus. The company also has 147 employees who have worked for VanderSloot for 20 years or more.
"We're going to be able to have quite a few substantial dollars after taxes," VanderSloot said. "I suspect we're one of the largest taxpayers in the state, so we're going to have some more dollars to spread around. That money should go to the people who built the company."
Melaleuca, based in Idaho Falls, follows companies like AT&T, Boeing, Comcast and Wells Fargo to offer a fraction of their share with workers in the wake of landing a massive tax windfall.
This has led some corporate watchdogs to questions whether this was a coordinated effort to generate public support for the recently passed tax plan. The $1.5 trillion tax package will bring generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while providing smaller cuts for middle- and low-income families.
VanderSloot, however, said he came up with the idea after his wife told him about other companies giving back to their employees.
According to VanderSloot, bonuses will be distributed to all employees at each of the companies he owns. This does not include East Idaho News, an online news site which VanderSloot financed, because VanderSloot says he does not direct that business.
The eastern Idaho businessman then said he is encouraging all other Idaho companies to follow his lead and also give their employees bonuses.
"I am going to be reaching out to some folks and issuing the challenge in person, I think it's a good thing to do," he said.