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Tax reform windfall: These companies are hiking pay, delivering bonuses

Thomas Barrabi

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) on Wednesday said it would bring back billions of dollars in overseas cash to the U.S., joining other major companies in rewarding employees and shareholders after the passage of tax reform.

The tech giant said it plans to repatriate $67 billion in cash in its third fiscal quarter of 2018 after the recently-enacted U.S. tax code lowered the tax rate for such transactions, the Wall Street Journal reported. Cisco is expected to funnel some of its tax savings into shareholder dividends. 

The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that President Donald Trump signed in December reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and changes the way the U.S. government taxes companies that also operate internationally.  

FOX Business is keeping track of the tax benefits that have reached more than 3 million Americans so far.  

Updated 2/14/18

Anthem

Anthem Inc. (NYSE:ANTM) said it would contribute retirement savings for more than 58,000 current and former employees, joining other major corporations in rewarding workers after the passage of a GOP-backed tax reform package.

The Indianapolis-based health insurance company said its associates and recent retirees will receive $1,000 toward their 401(k) accounts, for a total investment of more than $58 million. Anthem said other tax reform-related savings would be used to reduce the cost of healthcare for customers.

Apple

The California-based tech giant gave employees below the senior level title of "director" bonuses worth $2,500. The awards were composed of restricted stock units, a source familiar with the situation told FOX Business.

AT&T

The telecom giant said in late December that more than 200,000 of its employees, including union-represented and non-management workers, will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. The checks will be in the mail in time for the holidays if Trump finalizes the tax bill with his signature before Christmas. AT&T (NYSE:T) also said it will invest $1 billion more than expected in the U.S. in 2018, once the cuts are final.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs.”

BNY Mellon

Starting on March 1, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. will raise minimum wage to $15 per hour for roughly 1,000 of its 52,500 employees, the Wall Street Journal reported.

BNY Mellon executives noted the new tax code will allow for savings of roughly $250 million per year, which will be used on technology upgrades.

Boeing

The aerospace and defense company immediately announced $300 million in investments after the bill passed, with $100 million toward corporate giving including employee gift-match programs, $100 million toward workforce development, training and education and $100 million toward enhancing Boeing’s workplaces.

"On behalf of all of our stakeholders, we applaud and thank Congress and the administration for their leadership in seizing this opportunity to unleash economic energy in the United States," Boeing (NYSE:BA) President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement. "It's the single-most important thing we can do to drive innovation, support quality jobs and accelerate capital investment in our country."

Charter Communications

Charter, which owns the Spectrum cable brand, says all of its employees will be paid at least $15 per hour within the next year. The company cited tax reform and the repeal of net neutrality rules for its decision.

"Charter's workforce is key to the success of our company," Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said in a statement. "Our commitment to pay every employee at least a $15 per hour income will enhance our efforts to develop our highly-skilled, diverse and locally based workforce, improving their lives and the lives of the customers they serve."

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) is rolling out benefits reaching all of its 71,000 employees, including special cash and stock bonuses and enhanced paid and parental leave.

Qualified hourly employees and salaried restaurant employees will receive a special one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000, and some staff employees will receive a one-time stock grant.

Other offerings will include accelerated training programs, and additional paid parental leave for everyone, from hourly managers to salaried employees.

The company also added life insurance and short-term disability insurance coverage for hourly restaurant managers.

According to the company, the tax cut and the jobs cut made the sweetened compensation and benefits possible. The company will invest more than one-third of its anticipated savings from tax law changes on behalf of its employees, and the remainder will be used to improve its restaurant facilities and operations.

The company said it has already started rolling out these new benefits.

Comcast

The Philadelphia-based telecom corporation said it would award $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees. In addition, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said the company plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments that are expected to create "thousands of new direct and indirect jobs."

In a press release, Comcast said the initiatives were "based on the passage of tax reform and the FCC's action on broadband."

CVS

Hourly employees of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) will see their wages increase to $11 per hour from $9, effective April 2018. The company also plans to adjust pay ranges and rates for many of its retail employees later in the year.

The company is creating a new paid parental leave program. Effective April 1, 2018, full-time employees who become parents can take up to four weeks away from work at 100% of their pay.

Fifth Third Bancorp

The Cincinnati-based banking corporation said it would raise the minimum hourly wage for all employees to $15 per hour and dispense $1,000 bonuses for more than 13,500 workers. The company says tax reform was directly responsible for the initiatives.

“It is good for our communities, employees and Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ:FITB),” Fifth Third President and CEO Greg Carmichael said.

Home Depot

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) announced it will pay its U.S. hourly workers a one-time bonus of up to $1,000 tied to President Trump’s tax reform.

"This incremental investment in our associates was made possible by the new tax reform bill," Craig Menear, chairman and CEO of the company, said in a statement.

The Home Depot bonus will be paid in addition to the retailer’s existing bonuses. It employs more than 400,000 associates.

JPMorgan Chase

The country's largest bank said it will raise wages for roughly 22,000 workers to between $15 and $18 per hour. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) employees are also set to receive a $750 bonus this month.

JetBlue

The New York-based airline said on Jan. 4 that it would grant a $1,000 to each of its 21,000 crewmembers, with the exception of its CEO and other executives.

"We believe these tax changes will be positive for our company, and provide us the opportunity to do good things for our crewmembers, customers and shareholders," JetBlue President and CEO Robin Hayes said in a letter to company employees.

Lowe's

The retailer said it's giving more than 260,000 of its hourly employees bonuses of up to $1,000 as well as expanding its benefit plans to include adoption assistance and paid parental leave.

In addition, Lowe's said it plans to shorten its eligibility time for new employees who want to enroll in the company's health plans, giving them the option to sign up in the first 30 days of service. 

MetLife

MetLife plans to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour, enhance its benefits, and boost its retirement plan contributions to all of its employees in the wake of the tax overhaul.

The New York-based insurance company also said it plans to create a new $10 million workplace skills development fund to help its employees around the world.

"We are investing in their future and strengthening their long-term financial security with structural improvements that will endure," Steven A. Kandarian, president and CEO of MetLife, said in a statement. "We are also channeling most of the benefits to employees at the lower end of the compensation spectrum."

PepsiCo

The food and beverage giant said it will award $1,000 bonuses to select employees and reinvest tax-related savings in its business.

“We expect the benefits of the TCJ Act will enable us to further strengthen our business by enhancing the skills of our front line associates to ready them for the future; adding new digital and ecommerce capabilities to become more competitive; accelerating capital investments to add manufacturing capacity and make our operations more efficient; and enhancing cash returns to our shareholders over time," said PepsiCo Chief Executive Indra Nooyi in a statement.

Starbucks

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is giving all of its U.S.-based hourly and salaried workers an unspecified raise in April, in addition to a wage increase already dispersed earlier in the fiscal year, which began last October. Starbucks says it is investing roughly $120 million in the wage increases.

The company is also awarding workers stock grants worth a total of more than $100 million to those employed by the chain as of Jan. 1, 2018. Retail employees will receive at least a $500 grant, while store managers will receive grants of $2,000, the chain said.

Southwest Airlines

The Dallas-based airline is awarding a $1,000 cash bonus to all of its full-time and part-time employees. The bonuses will be distributed on Jan. 8. In addition, Southwest said it will donate $5 million toward charitable causes and partner with Boeing to modernize its fleet of planes.

“We applaud Congress and the President for taking this action to pass legislation, which will result in meaningful corporate income tax reform for the transportation sector in general, and for Southwest Airlines, in particular,” Southwest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said in a statement. “We are excited about the savings and additional capital, which we intend to put to work in several forms—to reward our hard-working employees, to reinvest in our business, to reward our shareholders, and to keep our costs and fares low for our Customers.”

Tyson Foods

The Arkansas-based food company said it will award $1,000 bonuses to full-time employees and $500 to part-time employees who did not already receive an annual bonus. Tyson CEO Tom Hayes said in an email to employees that the company’s total savings from tax reform will top $300 million, with leftover cash from the bonuses used to improve training and education, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank, is distributing $1,000 bonuses to roughly 60,000 of its employees and raising minimum wage for hourly workers to $15 per hour. The Minneapolis-based company is also donating $150 million to the U.S. Bank Foundation, upgrading health care packages for its employees and investing in better customer service capabilities.

"We believe that tax reform is positive for the U.S. economy because it provides an immediate opportunity to benefit our employees, our communities and our customers,” said Andy Cecere, U.S. Bank's president and CEO. “We are proud of our people and their commitment to our customers and communities. We felt it was important to reward their hard work and dedication with this special bonus, the minimum wage increase and the health care enhancements.”

Verizon

The telecom giant will give nearly all of its employees 50 shares of restricted stock, worth roughly $53 each as of this week, a source with knowledge of the equity award confirmed to Fox News. The share prices will be set on Feb. 1.

Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), the world's largest employer, boosted pay for U.S. hourly workers to $11 per hour. Additionally, the retailer is giving one-time $1,000 bonus payments to workers, depending on length of service. It is also extending maternity and parental benefits for workers. The changes take place in February. 

The Walt Disney Co.

More than 125,000 Disney employees will receive $1,000 cash bonuses, the company announced on Jan. 23. The bonuses will be dispersed in two payments, one in March and another in September. In addition, Disney invested $50 million in an education program to cover tuition payments for hourly employees.

“I am proud we are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact.”

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) said it would raise the minimum wage for its team members to $15 per hour and earmark $400 million for philanthropic initiatives in 2018. Some $100 million of that total will be committed to boosting small businesses, while $75 million will support neighborhood revitalization efforts.

“We believe tax reform is good for our U.S. economy and are pleased to take these immediate steps to invest in our team members, communities, small businesses, and homeowners,” said Wells Fargo President and CEO Tim Sloan. “We look forward to identifying additional opportunities for Wells Fargo to invest, as we continue to execute our business strategies and provide long-term value to all our stakeholders.

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