How Much Are Raises at Tesla? (Bonuses, Discounts, and More)

Tesla is a great company to boost your overall career and put its name on your resume. They have a great culture, with fast-paced work, and long shifts, which is typical in the manufacturing industry. Doesn’t sound bad, does it?

We’ve all heard Tesla starting wages are on the lower end, but what about raises and bonuses? How much does Tesla provide in long term, and can they justify the lower starting pay?

The truth is, Tesla raises are very low for most of the typical positions you can get, usually just a few percent. Combine that with the low base starting pay and the picture doesn’t look good. However, Tesla does offer a lot of bonuses, and discounts for Tesla stock options and RSU, which becomes a part of your pay.

Whether that’s good is for you to decide, but one thing is for sure: when the Tesla stock raises, your Tesla pay will rise as well, assuming you remain working there for a few years until you’re vested in your investment. What does that mean? In short: You’re stuck there for a few years.

How Does Tesla Reward Employees?

Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA

Tesla provides all sorts of incentives for its employees, but unfortunately, raises aren’t the most valuable. There are many reviews across the internet of current and former Tesla workers stating the very low increase in pay across locations.

On the other hand, bonuses and benefits at Tesla are regularly praised, PTO being the most mentioned as well as the ability for Tesla employees to buy the Tesla stock discounted, as a form of future compensation. These Tesla shares give employees some small guarantee that they’ll be able to get paid as long as the Tesla stock keeps rising.

However, keep in mind that to get full ownership of these company shares, you’ll need to work there usually for at least 6 months, often longer, up to several years.

Another con often reported is nepotism and favoritism in the Tesla workforce, meaning that hard workers aren’t promoted or given raises, and management promotes who they want to promote based on friendships and family. This is very bad for internal growth and a minus for Tesla in regard to rewards and incentives for future workers. However, this isn’t unique to Tesla.

How Much Are Raises at Tesla?

Tesla gives raises about twice a year for hourly employees, and usually only once a year for salaried ones. The height of raises you’ll get will depend on your performance and reviews in your workplace, but these raises are minimal, about 1% to 2% if any. The biggest raises come from promotions.

This doesn’t sound great, especially since most Tesla employees aren’t compensated properly through cash, but through bonuses, stock options, and discounts. 

Promotion, on the other hand, nets you the biggest raise, especially for software engineers. A software engineer promotion from an entry-level software engineer (P1, usually a New Grad) to a P2 level (Engineer) comes with a pay raise of about $30,000 in base salary and about $15,000 in stock options. Similarly, a promotion from an Engineer (P2) to a Senior Engineer (P3) nets you about $20k more in base salary and usually double in stock options.

Unfortunately, not everyone is a software engineer at Tesla, and most are just regular factory workers.

… Regular Tesla raises are minimal, about 1-2%, but promotion raises are high.

While there is some favoritism reported among Tesla managers and employees, this isn’t the case in all departments. But if it is the case in your department, in order to get a pay increase at Tesla, you may need to get close to the managers, work with them, get to know them, and let’s be honest – kiss their butts from time to time.

I wrote a helpful guide on when to ask for raises, and you can give that a read if you want. The guide has everything from figuring out if you’re underpaid, to the best day of asking for a raise, what to expect and how much to ask for.

Does Tesla give yearly raises?

Tesla does give annual raises for most of its employees, but the annual raises are very low and depend on your review. These raises can be either 1% or 2%, sometimes $1 or $2 if you’re paid hourly.

While these raises are minimal, consider that Tesla employees are entitled to get paid in Tesla stock options and bonuses. On the other hand, Tesla employees work hard, have long shifts, and are usually in a fast-paced environment.

According to a survey from dozens of employees, it would seem that the hard work at Tesla is not being properly rewarded either. Getting rewarded for your hard work is a great incentive to work at any company. But according to many employees surveyed, this doesn’t seem the case for Tesla.

Do Tesla Employees Get Bonuses?

Up until recently, Tesla employees have been getting all kinds of bonuses that ranged anywhere from $5,000 for a Production Associate, to $30,000 for a Senior Software Engineer per year. However, these bonuses have been reduced as Tesla has cut bonuses tied to delivery quotas.

Recently, Tesla canceled employee bonuses tied to delivery quotas, which was increasing employee salaries by 25%, and instead, Tesla raised sales and delivery employee base salaries by 12.5%. This means that these employees got a reduction in total compensation, but we can argue that a bit of stress was removed from having to hit those quarterly quotas.

person sitting inside a self-driving Tesla car

While there are no personal performance bonuses at Tesla, there are still a few other bonuses that you may earn, such as a sign-on bonus, and bonuses tied to stock options.

Does Tesla give a signing bonus?

For those who aren’t familiar with this concept, a signing bonus is a financial award offered by the company to a prospective employee as an incentive to join the company. They are fairly common today, and they come in the form of cash and/or stock options.

According to the survey from Comparably, there’s a 50% chance you’ll get a signing bonus when joining Tesla Motors, with the range of between $1,000 and $5,000. 

Those with a Master’s degree are most likely not only to receive a sign-on bonus but also to receive a higher signing bonus of up to $10,000, compared to those with a Bachelor’s degree.

Tesla has also an employee referral bonus, where Tesla employees can earn credits towards a Tesla vehicle, by referring someone who buys a Tesla car.

Do Tesla employees get Christmas bonuses?

Whether you’ll be able to work on Christmas at Tesla will depend on your job position and department, and general policy for that year. Typically, Christmas is a paid holiday for Tesla employees, though sometimes you may be able to work on that day.

However, even if you could, Tesla doesn’t seem to give bonuses for Christmas.

According to one employee on Glassdoor, they worked on Christmas but did not get a Christmas bonus, even while working 12 hours shifts.

However, this doesn’t mean that no Tesla factory or a department doesn’t give Christmas bonus. This will depend on the policy at a particular factory, but judging by how Tesla has been cutting quarterly bonuses recently, it’s unlikely to happen. 

At least your holidays will be paid for, in fact, Tesla will pay for most of your Holidays.

Does Tesla give stock bonuses to employees?

Tesla stock value last 5 years

While Tesla generally pays below-market wages, they also offer stock options in various forms for their employees as compensation. There are several options to choose from, but you also need to be able to afford them and manage to work for a certain amount of time at Tesla, depending on your vesting plan.

According to many employees, the stock purchase plan is pretty neat, with a 15% discount on Tesla stocks twice a year during certain buying periods.

You get a choice of RSU or options. RSU is a restricted stock unit, which is a form of compensation often issued by companies in the form of company shares. They are typically issued with a vesting plan, which means that you’ll be gradually vested over several years (usually 3 to 5 years) until you’re fully 100% vested.

This means that you’ll need to stay at Tesla for a certain amount of time, during this vesting period, until you acquire full ownership of the asset, whether it’s the stock option or the RSU. In other words, you need to make sure you don’t quit or get fired until this period ends.

Does Tesla Give Discounts to Employees?

Tesla employees get various discounts such as discounts on merchandise, accessories, older Tesla cars, charging stations, hotels, flights, rental cars, and even entertainment such as discounts for amusement parks.

On top of that, they also get some free software features/upgrades, and even a lifetime of supercharging.

Perkupapp.com reports that Tesla employee discounts can be up to 35% on all kinds of merchandise. 

Tesla model 3 parked in sunset on the road

However, Tesla employees don’t get discounts on new cars, and never will. Even Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, said so in the email shared on his Twitter account:

“There can never — and I mean never — be a discount on a new car coming out of the factory in pristine condition… This is why I always pay full price when I buy a car and the same applies to my family, friends, celebrities, no matter how famous or influential.”

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

Do Tesla Employees Get a Free FSD?

Tesla employees do get a free FSD package as an incentive, as long as they’re an employee. Even a contractor at a Tesla factory will get a free FSD upgrade, but only one, compared to direct Tesla employees who may get multiple ones for several cars.

FSD is a Full-Self Driving feature currently in Beta, which enables cars to drive autonomously. While this feature is available for all Tesla employees, if they were to leave the company, Tesla would terminate the FSD for them.

If you’re thinking of getting an FSD for someone else and you don’t own a Tesla, you won’t be able to qualify for getting a free FSD for them. You do actually need to own a Tesla to get it.

You also need to own a car for a year or else you’ll have to pay for the FSD upgrade because the FSD is limited to those with high driving safety scores.

Do Tesla Employees Get Free Cars?

Tesla employees don’t get a free car, but they are sometimes offered a free car to use or share with a group of co-workers.

You can take the car home and use it for personal needs, but the car can’t be for too long with you, and you’ll have to return it to the company regularly. Once you leave the company, the car must be returned to Tesla, and you can no longer use it.

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  • Hi, I'm the founder of HowMonk.com! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!