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REBA Research #1: Impact of COVID-19 on pay, bonuses, benefits, health insurances and employment contracts

The Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), which represents more than 2,000 HR professionals who are responsible for pay, benefits and wellbeing policies at medium to large UK businesses, conducted a snapshot survey to gain a fast-track insight into the direction of decisions being taken by employers in the face of the huge economic impact of Covid-19 on UK businesses.

The survey went into the field on the same week as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised workers across the country to work from home, which meant that employers had to react to sudden change to working practices. 

The survey closed before the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of support for employees on 20 March 2020. In the coming weeks REBA will conduct a second survey to assess the impact of the support package.

This snapshot survey showed that in the week of 17-19 March there were more questions than answers coming from employers, primarily regarding employee pay as they work to deal with a significant business downturn.

Already many businesses across sectors are planning for an aggressive recovery post coronavirus. The economic dive will be deep and sharp, especially in the service sector, but the comeback could be equally fast. How HR, reward and benefits professionals deal with cuts and freezes now will either help or hamper that comeback. Being too ruthless may damage employer and consumer brands. It would be wise to pause to discuss growth strategies in the near future with the operational side of the business before acting on cuts or reductions. UK employers will need their engaged, talented and adaptable workers.