Steinberg Advisors has set up an unusual bonus program, giving its full-time employees a one-time bonus of $1,200 to help them cope with rising energy costs.

The CPA firm is labeling the program the Steinberg Economic Stimulus Plan. The program is intended to supplement the economic stimulus payments, or tax rebates, that the IRS is distributing.

"It's to help with the current increase in fuel costs, so our employees can spend the economic stimulus on things to stimulate the economy, rather than just pay for fuel," said Jennifer D'Amico, an assistant to managing partner Irwin Steinberg at the Chicago-area firm. "Everyone's very excited about it. The partners feel it's important to support their most valuable asset, their employees."

She noted that the extra bonus is in addition to other benefits offered by the firm, including flextime during the summer and learning opportunities.

"Our Economic Stimulus Plan came out of a monthly partner meeting in which we were talking about how we could reward everyone in our firm - from our receptionist and part-time assistant to our senior managers - for their outstanding work and client service," said Steinberg in a statement. "We thought the bonus would be a great way to show not only that we care about our people, but also that we're all part of a team whose success depends on the contribution of every firm member."

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