Instead of cash, employees of Italian company Luxottica, the world's largest eyewear manufacturer, will receive pasta, olive oil, coffee and even Nutella as their annual merit bonuses.
Two years ago, owner of Luxottica, Leonardo Del Vecchio, in cooperation with the unions that represent the company's workers, began this experimental policy when he became concerned about rising taxes for both the firm and his 8,000 employees. He also noted increasing financial difficulties for his employees, which have only worsened during the economic crisis.
The company's merit-based staff bonus plan integrates salaries with non-monetary benefits. Luxottica's employee benefit plan also includes schoolbooks and scholarships for the children of its staff, specialized medical visits, language courses and day care services. This year, the eyewear manufacturer will offer a ‘grocery bonus', valued at 110 euro per employee, through which staff will receive staples of Italian cuisine from a local supermarket.
Income taxes would eat up 50 percent of the bonus if it were included in employees' paychecks. The company also saves money by purchasing the articles in bulk and it contributes to the local economy.