A new survey from Robert Half finds 52% of employees are expecting a year-end bonus, and 76% of companies will offer them this year.

"The economy certainly helps," Dora Onyschak, metro market manager for Central Jersey for Robert Half said. "Most companies in general want to reward their employees, want to reward hard work."

She also suggests the strong economy is a motivation for some companies to keep those bonuses strong, to retain key players on their team.

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The survey also found 52% of workers plan to put at least some of the bonus in savings. Forty-seven percent may use some of it for a vacation in the new year. Forty-six percent plan to use part of the bonus for holiday shopping. Another 46% will use some of it to pay off debt.

Onyschak offers advice for employees seeking a year-end bonus:  Finish up the year well, and meet with your manager to discuss expectations, goals and rewards.

"Kind of thinking outside of the box a little bit, maybe with new ideas and other strategies in terms of what is that goal look like," she said.

Forty-eight percent of the bonus-giving companies in the survey say they plan to increase the size of bonuses this year. Another forty-eight percent said their bonuses will stay the same size this year. Four percent said they plan to decrease bonuses.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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