Under normal circumstances, Li Shuhui, a senior employee in a Beijing-based firm, would be expecting a fat annual Lunar New Year bonus. But with the financial recession looming over the globe, Li would be happy if she gets to keep her job.
"The most important thing for me right now is to keep working. I have to support my son, who studies in an international primary school. I also have to pay the mortgage for a house I purchased, which is 4,000 yuan ($580) a month," Li said.
Li is not sure if she will get a bonus before she goes on leave for Spring Festival. And with hundreds of thousands of workers being laid-off the world over, Li said she did not have the heart to even ask her boss for extra cash.
"Of course, I will be happy if I get a bonus. But I know it's going to be much less than what I got last year, if I get one at all," said Li, who has been working as a senior secretary in Beijing-based US firm for four years.
According to a survey conducted by leading job portal 51job.com, about 9 percent of the companies interviewed said they would maintain their previous annual bonus plans.
Twenty-one percent said they would make "major adjustments" in their bonus schemes, while 60 percent said they would make "slight changes", the survey showed.
The number of companies intending to reward their staff with a bonus decreased by 23 percent compared with last year, and the companies that will not give an annual bonus at all this year increased by 13 percent year-on-year, the survey showed.
The hongbao - red envelopes containing cash bonuses - have also shrunk, the survey found.
Only 6 percent of the companies that took part in the poll said they will grant their staff bonuses that exceed 10,000 yuan a person.
Most companies will give bonuses "between 1,000 to 3,000 yuan", it said.
Shi Zhijie, editor-in-chief of 800HR.com, a local job-hunting website, said that "talented and irreplaceable" employees will be rewarded with bonuses and opportunities no matter how terrible the economic situation might be.
According to a report released by Zhilian Recruiting, a human resources firm, nearly 40 percent of employees in the capital are not expecting an annual bonus this year.
The 51job.com survey revealed that staff working in the realty, clothing and shoe manufacturing sectors face huge cuts in their annual bonuses and "may even get nothing".
However, people working in household and personal care, chemicals, education and medical industries can expect stable annual bonuses, it said.
Liu Qintao, who works in the Beijing-based Allpku Consulting Company, told Beijing News: "Economic situations can reflect an enterprise's human resources philosophy, enterprise cohesiveness and loyalty toward staff.
"Although some enterprises may cut or cancel bonus plans, if the staff can see their bosses' determination and sincerity to carry on moving forward with them, it will increase the workers' loyalty toward their firms."
A significant number of employees in the country have reportedly received their annual bonuses in forms of shopping vouchers, holidays, free training or travel coupons.
Feng Jianqiang, an employee at an international trade company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is getting a one-month break during Spring Festival, which is 23 days more than the law stipulates.
"No cash this year. The extended holiday is my annual bonus," Feng said.
Yu Bingbing, who works for a pharmaceutical firm in the capital, received some healthcare products as her annual bonus. She said she will "pass them on" to her family as gifts for the New Year.