The amount of money a retiree from General Motors may receive in a Christmas bonus depends on the terms of the contract between GM and the United Auto Workers union. In 2015, the automaker and the UAW signed a four-year contract which provides GM retirees with a $500 Christmas bonus.
The Christmas bonuses are actually year-end payments that provide an adjustment to a retiree's pension based on inflation. Since GM makes these payments in December, they are known as Christmas bonuses. Prior to 2011, retirees received up to $700 in their Christmas bonuses, and surviving spouses received up to $455. A new contract in 2011 eliminated the bonuses but provided retirees with expanded health coverage that included four annual doctor visits, two annual dental cleanings and an annual eye exam.
In 2015, the UAW successfully negotiated contracts with the other two Detroit-based automakers: Fiat Chrysler and Ford. Ford retirees receive $1,000 during the contract. Fiat Chrysler employees did not receive a bonus.
According to the terms of the contracts, retirees of all three automakers receive vouchers toward the purchase of a new car or truck. Fiat Chrysler provides retirees with a $1,000 voucher, GM offers a $500 voucher, and Ford gives a $250 voucher each year of the contract.