Sainsbury’s is to bring forward the payment of bonuses for all its staff.
The move means that employees receiving more than £150,000 will avoid paying the 50% tax rate when it comes in on April 6, the Times reported.
Staff will now pay tax at the current rate of 40%, dramatically improving payouts for the supermarket giant’s top 1,200 earners – including the chief executive Justin King, who received more than £2m in pay, pension and bonuses last year.
This manoeuvre is likely to anger the banking sector, where employers were warned against trying to avoid paying the windfall tax levied on their bonuses for last year.
Sainsbury’s insisted the change was not linked to the new tax rate, but was a trial to cut the time staff waited for bonuses after it’s year-end, Saturday (20 March).
A spokesman for the company said: “It is fairer for the proportion of bonus awards based on Sainsbury’s performance to be paid, and taxed, in accordance with rates that applied across the year they were earned.”