signing bonus

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signing bonus (plural signing bonuses)

  1. (business) A one-time payment given by a party entering a contractual relationship to another party entering that same contract, as an incentive to finalize the agreement.
    • 1944 Sept. 21, "Wakefield Supplies Batting Punch in Detroit Tigers' Pennant Drive," Milwaukee Journal, p. 12 (retrieved 20 Sep 2012):
      The Tigers are collecting dividends now . . . as a result of the $52,000 check which Owner Walter O. Briggs handed Wakefield in July 1941, when as a sophomore at Michigan, he signed with Detroit. It was the biggest signing bonus in major league history.
    • 1996 Aug. 26, "Milestones," Time:
      Signed. Emmitt Smith, 27, running back; to the Dallas Cowboys. The eight-year, $48 million contract includes a record $15 million signing bonus.
    • 2011 Sept. 17, Bill Vlasic and Nick Bunkley, "General Motors Is Said to Offer Bonuses and Reopened Plan," New York Times (retrieved 20 Sep 2012):
      But people briefed on the negotiations said that workers would receive a signing bonus of $5,000 in lieu of cost-of-living wage increases.