What price a life?

It is somewhat dispiriting that company directors should be motivated by money to keep their workforces alive, but apparently they do. However, CEOs need not worry too much if workplace failures leads to loss of life, since it is unlikely to make much of a dent in their take home pay.
Research from PIRC reveals that the average loss of earnings suffered for FTSE350 highest paid directors because of an employee fatality during the 2019/20 reporting year was just £33,628. The average total income of the highest paid directors at companies where pay was reduced following an occupational fatality was £3,942,236, so this equates to a loss of income because of a fatality of just 0.85% of total pay.
These shocking figures show that a system where directors are rewarded for killing or injuring fewer workers makes no sense. Instead, the focus should be on keeping employees safe. Even where companies do have a real commitment to worker safety, the overly complex executive pay models typical in FTSE350 companies generate ridiculous and insulting outcomes in relation to fatalities.
As PIRC’s Conor Constable, who undertook the research, says: ‘A bonus should be given for exceptional performance. In the UK’s broken executive pay system the bar is set so low that a company killing or injuring less of the workforce is effectively treated as exceptional. And the extra reward that directors receive on top of their salary is simply fractionally lower if a worker dies on the job.’

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