It sounds to good to be true - but it is true. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act gave employees the opportunity to receive shares of company stock without making personal contributions. And today the president annouced that $8 million dollars will be handed out to participants. I spoke with some employees who say this annoucement has changed their lives.
"It really felt like we all hit the lottery this week," says Michele Kernan, Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. employee.
"Besides the birth of my triplets, this is the largest event of my life," says John Bruno, Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. employee.
John Bruno has been working at fiber instrument sales for 16 years. He says he participated in the company's plan but the news still came as a shock.
"You don't find out about it until you get here which is a pleasant surprise," says Kernan.
"Did I know I was gonna get the money beforehand? Absolutely not, I thought it was gonna be when I retired," says Bruno.
And that was the original plan when F.I.S adopted the retirement plan back in 2000.
"It was set up to contribute shares of F.I.S stock into participant's accounts and every year shares were released into the accounts and an evaluation was done," says Susan Grabinski, Fiber Instrument Sales Inc.Vice President of Finance.
The plan was set up for 10 years meaning the last of the stock was released in 2010. That's when the president came up with his idea to give employees an early present.
"He wanted to reward the employees and actually buy the stock back so the employees would receive the distributions personally," says Grabinski.
Grabinski says the the amount of money each employee receives is based on their length of service and salary and the employees say they couldn't be happier.
"Everyone was really excited and it was a life changing event for a lot of people," says Kernan.
"Some employees cried, they were thrilled, they were not expecting it," says Grabinski.
So what's the next step for these lucky folks?
"I'm just gonna roll it over to my 401K," says Kernan.
"I have triplet daughters that are 4 so it meant they're all gonna go to school for college," says Bruno.
The president of Fiber Instrument Sales says nearly 170 current and past employees that have participated in the plan will get a piece of the $8 million dollar pie this week. And it's a pie employees say tastes pretty sweet.