Inside track: Actions reward and benefits professionals are taking in the face of coronavirus


Employer actions in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic are changing rapidly. In order to share action, ideas and strategies REBA will run an ongoing blog which will be updated regularly. If you’d like to add valuable information, relevant ideas and practical advice for other reward and benefits professionals, please do this in one of two ways:

1. REBA Professional Members can share and ask for advice via our vendor-free online networking tool rebaLINK.

2. Email the REBA team. Please state if you’d prefer to remain off-the-record in any information we publish.

Update 16:15 04 June 2020 - 14 Day quarantine on return to UK

From Monday 8 June, a 14-day quarantine period will be implemented for those entering or returning to the UK. Although the Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to advise against all but essential international travel, there are hopes that some foreign holidays will be able to go ahead in the coming weeks.

As such, one of our Professional Members asked on rebaLINK:

What are your plans for employees who will be lucky enough to take foreign holidays but then be required to self-isolate for 14 days once back in the UK.

Will employees just continue to work from home if they can for this period? What about employees who are operationally based who can't work from home? Will they continue to be paid for 14 days but not work, will they be asked to take holiday or a mixture of the two? Will you have a consistent policy across your workforce irrespective of the role performed ?

These are really good questions and employers will need to be on the front-foot if or when foreign holidays are allowed again. A fellow member responded with their plans:

If employees can work from home and this is approved by their manager before their trip they can work from home. If this is not possible the two weeks isolation would be unpaid.

What approach are you planning to take for your employees? Why not drop us a line or respond to the question on rebaLINK.

Update 10:20 02 June 2020 – Webinar: Get your employee engagement, communication and culture right to ensure a motivated and productive workforce as lockdown restrictions change and new working patterns emerge

Are you wondering how to manage culture and workplace morale in this time of crises? Would you like to hear what others are doing for different sectors of staff such as frontline workers, those in the workplace, those at home and those who have been furloughed? Perhaps you are looking for advice on how to communicate and engage with staff during this already fast-shifting time in the light of the George Floyd murder?

Then join us on Friday 5 June from 11am to explore how to get your employee engagement, communication and culture right to ensure a motivated and productive workforce as lockdown restrictions change and new working patterns emerge.

The speaker panel who will share their perspectives and answer viewer questions as best they can are:

  • Chair - Debi O'Donovan, Founder and Director of REBA
  • Gareth Ashley-Jones, Head of International Benefits at Wells Fargo
  • Megan O’Shaughnessy, Head of Reward – Consumer at BT
  • Damien Teisseire, MD - Group Reward Officer at IHS Markit
  • Matt Frost, Director, Gallagher.

Sign up today, and if you aren't able to attend the live webinar, we'll send you a recording afterwards.

Update 08:10 01 June 2020 – Webinar: achieving the right global reward and wellbeing response to the coronavirus pandemic

Listen to REBA’s latest webinar on achieving the right global reward and wellbeing response to the coronavirus pandemic, featuring senior reward professionals from Jaguar Land Rover, Wood, WPP and Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing.

REBA’s expert panel tackled key global issues including how the pandemic is being approached in different territories and the impact this is having on global reward decisions. They also covered all areas of reward from pay, bonuses and LTIPs through to wider employee wellbeing and communication issues.

Listen to the full webinar here.

You can also watch all of the webinars in REBA’s crisis series by visiting its webinar hub.

Update 18:15 29 May 2020 – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extension update

The Chancellor has outlined further details on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), including improved flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part-time in July, and a new taper requiring employers to contribute to furloughed salaries from August.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

From August 2020, the level of government grant provided through CJRS will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. That means that for June and July the government will continue to pay 80% of people’s salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a share, but crucially individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.

Details about how the scheme will work going forward, including how to manage flexible furloughing and how the scheme will taper can be found in this government factsheet.

Update 07:40 28 May 2020 – Expenses for working from home

Now that more people are getting used to working from home, questions are rising about the expenses incurred and how employees are being compensated.

One of REBA’s Professional Members enquired on rebaLINK:

I am just interested to know what expenses you pay your employees for working at home, if any?

I understand that employees can claim tax relief or we can choose to pay £6 per week to employees as an expense to cover any costs due to working from home. It would be good to understand what other companies are doing.

The majority of respondents on rebaLINK indicated that they were reimbursing employees for equipment costs, such as screens, desk chairs and desks etc for health and safety reasons. However, no one was paying the £6 a week working from home allowance. The main reason for this is that staff are already saving substantially on transport costs, and are therefore generally already better off working from home.

One Member did indicate that they were working on a communication in conjunction with their internal tax team to inform employees about how to claim the £6 a week via HMRC.

What has your approach to this issue been? Why not drop us a line or respond to the question on rebaLINK.

Update 14:52 27 May 2020 – Location-based pay rates

Coronavirus has turned the way that we work on its head. But as we start to move out of lockdown, questions about the future of work and pay are emerging. One of our Professional Members asked the following on rebaLINK:

Given the new normal could be the end of the traditional office for a large number of professional salaried employees, what do you think about moving away from location based pay e.g. London/Manchester/Glasgow etc to a single country-wide pay rate for a specific job?

If you have any thoughts on this question we’d love to hear from you. Why not drop us a line or respond to the question on rebaLINK.

Update 10:35 27 May 2020 – Webinar: achieving the right global reward and wellbeing response to the coronavirus pandemic

Governments and populations around the world are being affected and responding differently to the pandemic. In our next webinar we'll explore these variances and discuss what an up-to-date reward strategy looks like for your global workforce.

The speaker panel who will share their perspectives and answer viewer questions as best they can are:

  • Chair - Debi O'Donovan Founder and Director of REBA
  • Jane Humberstone, Director, Global Reward & Mobility at Jaguar Land Rover
  • Derek Steptoe, Worldwide Compensation & Benefits Director at WPP
  • Claire Yule, Group Head Compensation & Benefits at Wood.

Register to attend the webinar.

Update 09:30 27 May 2020 - new running blog

Due to the length of our first running blog entitled: Inside track: Actions reward and benefits professionals are taking in the face of coronavirus, we have started a new one.

You can still read all of the older updates.



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