It was reported in the news today that Amazon is offering some of its UK based permanent staff a £50 weekly bonus, not for anything that goes well above and beyond the requirements of their roles, but rather for turning up to work on time each week.
Such is the state of the jobs market in some sectors that employers are having to find new ways to incentivise staff to join them and then to perform their basic contractual duties in line with their contracts.
Whereas onceover employers might have adopted a much more confrontational approach to lateness by its employees, this latest report appears to be an example of a large employer now realising that the mere threat of disciplinary action or dismissal is less likely to produce the desired outcome. Instead, incentivising staff to comply with the requirement to attend work at specific hours is seen as more likely to be effective. In other words, in the age-old dilemma over the carrot or the stick, it appears the carrot has prevailed, at least for now.
The previous week, Amazon was reportedly offering a £1,000 joining bonus for warehouse workers. It reflects the fact that UK job vacancies were at a record high in August. Employers are starting to wake up to the reality that filling traditionally lower paid but essential jobs is going to be much harder in the new post-Brexit climate and that without offering significant incentives, they risk being unable to fill those roles.
It was reported separately that some farms have had to give away free produce rather than let it go to waste in the fields because of a lack of agricultural workers.
What is a potential major headache for employers is nevertheless perhaps a sign of a re-balancing of the bargaining power in roles where traditionally lower paid workers were at a risk of being exploited, either in respect of low pay or unfavourable employment terms. If the current economic climate and jobs market results in lower paid employees being treated better at work and being more fairly rewarded for the often essential roles they carried out, this should surely be viewed as a positive development.