Monday 19 February 2018

Willie O'Dea: Deferring bonuses will hasten repair of broken bank culture

Why must failure be rewarded, wonders Willie O'Dea, whose new bill is aimed at slowing down the gravy train

LAST Wednesday I published a short and long overdue piece of legislation: The Bank Bonuses Bill. If the Government accepts this bill in September then we can at last do something to tackle the continuing scandal of bank bosses awarding themselves excessive bonuses.

It is a simple piece of legislation. It will require all top bankers to defer all bonuses of over €1,000 for a five-year period. I drafted the bill to apply to bank staff on salaries of over €60,000. The bonuses would only be payable where the performance has been exceptional or where there is a contractual entitlement to a bonus. Not only would the payment be delayed for five years, it would only be made where that banker had not been directly involved in the bank losing more than €100,000 during that period.

In other words, a bonus would be just that -- a bonus -- something extra in recognition of outstanding performance: not an entitlement. It should not be just another form of regular payment to mask already exorbitant salaries.

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