Southwest Airlines employees were awarded $543 million on March 15 in ProfitSharing. The 2017 award equals approximately 11.3 percent of each eligible employee’s eligible compensation—the equivalent of more than five weeks’ pay.
This $543 million contribution—nearly $1.5 million a day—is the third-largest total dollar amount Southwest Airlines® has ever allocated to ProfitSharing. Southwest ProfitSharing contributions have totaled more than $4.5 billion over 44 consecutive years, and more than $2 billion for the past four years alone (2014-2017).
The company paid part of the ProfitSharing award to the retirement plan and part in cash. Most eligible employees received 10 percent of eligible compensation as a contribution to the ProfitSharing Plan, and the remainder—approximately 1.3 percent—in cash. Pilots received the entire ProfitSharing award as a contribution to their retirement plan accounts as specified in their collective bargaining agreement.
When combined with contributions of $476 million to its 401(k) plans, this ProfitSharing award represents a total investment of more than $1 billion in Southwest Employees in 2017. This is in addition to the $1,000 tax reform bonus already paid to each eligible Employee in January 2018, on top of base salaries.
Southwest was the first in the airline industry to offer a ProfitSharing Plan. Through the ProfitSharing Plan, Southwest Employees currently own more than 4 percent of the Company’s outstanding shares.