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The extra pay that Canada’s largest banks have been giving to employees required to work at branches or offices during the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to an end.
Most of the country’s biggest lenders have been giving an additional $50 a day to branch staff and others unable to work from home since late March, when the coronavirus outbreak forced the shutdown of nonessential businesses. Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia and National Bank of Canada, based in Montreal, already ended their programs this month, with other lenders set to follow.
The banks’ winding down of the payments comes as grocery chains Loblaw Cos., Metro Inc. and Empire Co. face backlash for ending the temporary hourly bonuses they’d given store employees since March for working during the pandemic.
Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest lender by assets, will stop paying out its extra incentive at the end of June, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Lewis.
“Our special COVID-19 compensation program was introduced as a temporary measure for employees working on site during the crisis, and was intended to help with expenses related to coming into RBC premises when local services were limited,” Lewis said in an emailed statement Friday. “Businesses and services are reopening as governments begin to ease restrictions and employees return to workplaces, so we are winding down this program.”
A similar payout plan at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ends on June 27, spokesman Tom Wallis said. Bank employees remain eligible for as many as 10 additional paid days off to help manage the impact of the pandemic, he said.
Toronto-Dominion Bank offered employees who worked at bank locations $500 and an extra day off in April and again in May, according to spokeswoman Julie Bellissimo. The lender then extended the program for an additional month, through the end of June.
Bank of Montreal also offered a daily stipend of $50 for Canadian employees who were required to be at company locations, and similar measures for employees at non-domestic operations. The Toronto-based lender didn’t immediately provide comment about when its COVID-19 bonus program would end.