HANOVER TWP. — Crediting the new corporate tax rate recently approved by Congress, approximately 98 percent of Navient employees across the country received a $1,000 bonus just before the holidays.
Navient has approximately 6,700 employees nationwide, including more than 900 in Hanover Township, company officials say.
According to a memo from Jack Remondi, Navient president and CEO, the firm announced it will pay a $1,000 bonus to all non-officer employees. The memo, obtained by the Times Leader, states:
“ … Congress passed a major tax bill. One aspect of this bill lowered the corporate tax rate to help make America more competitive in the global marketplace and to help grow our economy. This lower tax rate has a positive impact to Navient.
“In response, I wanted to do something that would have an immediate impact for Team Navient. I am thrilled to announce that we will pay a $1,000 bonus to all non-officer employees. In total, 98 percent of our teammates will receive this bonus, which will be delivered through a special payroll deposit next week.”
The memo went on to say that in the coming weeks, Navient will take a broader look at other ways to support “our talented workforce” and to identify opportunities for additional investments in technology and innovation that better serve customers.
Navient, based in Delaware, services and collects on student loans.
‘Started to cry’
Colleen Hughes, an instructional design specialist — she works behind the scenes in the training department — said co-workers “cheered and hollered” when they read their emails.
“And it came right before the holidays,” said Hughes, 33, of Dupont. “I literally started to cry. I was shocked. I have a 3-year-old and I overspent for the holidays. This really helped me out.”
As news of the $1,000 bonuses made its way through Navient, Hughes said people became emotional.
“I know I feel I’m valued that we were even considered,” Hughes said. “We all feel valued by the company — that we all are a valuable asset to the company. So much so that they recognize our talent and dedication.”
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, supported the new tax plan that cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
“This is the kind of benefit we will continue to see from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Barletta said. “Growth and opportunity will lead a new American era of prosperity. Companies will invest in the American worker and the government will take less from their paychecks. I am very happy Northeast Pennsylvania is already reaping the benefits of an economic wave which will lift all boats.”
Across the aisle, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, said he was pleased to hear of Navient’s decision to pass on some of its tax savings to its employees, but he questioned how many corporations will follow Navient’s lead.
“It’s great to hear that Navient did the right thing in giving a portion of their tax windfall to the hardworking employees at their Wilkes-Barre facility,” Cartwright said. “This is certainly a credit to Navient’s foresight and good management. Unfortunately, while this kind of gesture is bound to generate headlines, the question is, how many other corporations will choose not to give out these tax-windfall bonuses?”
Cartwright went on to wonder why the tax law didn’t just pass that kind of bonus on to the entire middle class, instead of only the ones lucky enough to have generous bosses.
“If we were willing to go $1.4 trillion into debt, why didn’t every working family in the middle class get bigger tax cuts, instead of passing 83 percent of the cuts to the top 1 percent?” Cartwright asked.
Cartwright said House Speaker Paul Ryan has his sights set on cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and will be using the national debt, including that extra $1.4 trillion, as a reason to do it.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, praised Navient for its decision to share with its employees.
“Navient has created more than 1,000 good jobs at their Hanover Township facility, and it is great to see a good community partner, like Navient, continue to reinvest in the local workforce that has made them a national leader in the loan service industry,” Yudichak said.
State Rep. Tarah Toohil R-Butler Township, was pleased with “this good news” of workers receiving holiday bonuses.
“In our area, the bonuses amounted to almost one million dollars,” Toohil said. “It is extremely positive that a company would reward their employees for their hard work and dedication. Hopefully, with our economic climate gearing up, more employers will follow suit.”