Experts urge caution over elaborate incentive plans

Companies thinking of following the example of Royal Mail’s incentive scheme to reward staff for simply turning up to work could end up facing costly compensation claims, experts have warned.

Under the Royal Mail scheme, ‘Be in to win’, staff who went six months without a day off were entered into a prize draw. Goods worth £500,000 were given away, including 37 Ford Focus cars.

Royal Mail said the initiative had boosted daily attendance by almost 11%, but consultancy firm Croner said such schemes could lead to claims from employees for detrimental treatment merely for exercising their statutory rights to time off sick.

Employers could also risk discrimination claims due to disability, sex and even religion, if rewards are given for full attendance without making allowances for legitimate reasons why employees may need to take time off, Croner said.

Laura Fleming, HR consultant at Croner, said: “While Royal Mail’s scheme has proved successful, attendance incentives should not be approached flippantly.

 “Such a policy needs to be carefully written, and employers – especially those in smaller companies whose HR function may not be as sophisticated – need to make sure any policy is fair to all staff, and should also consider taking professional advice if necessary,” said Fleming.

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