Attraction and retention policy

Policy overview

We recognise that it may be challenging to recruit new employees or retain existing staff in key or hard to recruit or retain posts.

We have a range of incentives, both financial and non-financial, to attract candidates and retain employees. 


This policy applies to Local Government Terms and Conditions (Green Book) and other terms and conditions as relevant, for example Soulbury staff.  The policy will not apply to roles at senior leadership pay level.


Our principles ensure: 

  • we have a transparent and consistent policy for managers to use 
  • that any additional payments above the post grade are: 
    • objectively justified
    • transparently managed
    • regularly reviewed 
  • we pay non-consolidated attraction or retention supplements in a time limited way to comply with equal pay legislation
  • Directorate leadership teams (DLT) determine funding, but it must come from within existing Directorate funding streams

Managers must: 

  • provide evidence to support applying the discretions available in the policy 
  • inform the payroll service details of the payments via BW forms
  • consider and implement appropriate strategies to promote attraction and retention of staff 
  • obtain DLT approval for any attraction and retention payments 

Attraction and retention supplements

Key elements 

Attraction and retention supplements will: 

  • sometimes be paid for hard-to-recruit posts 
  • have regular reviews and usually last no longer than two years. Should the external labour market not change, we may extend a supplement 
  • not exceed 15 per cent of the grade's maximum gross annual salary. We will pay it in a cash lump sum. In exceptional circumstances, we may increase the amount with head of service DLT approval
  • not be consolidated into basic salary
  • be non-pensionable if short term payments, and pensionable if they are to be paid for longer than two years
  • be repaid if the employee leaves within two years

Where a base grade increases following a job evaluation or appeal supplements are assimilated at the agreed percentage into the pay adjustment. 

Employees with pay protection may opt to receive the supplement or the protected pay whichever is most favourable. 

We do not apply annual pay awards to attraction or retention supplements.

The payment is static and percentage awards are calculated based on the salary point the employee is on when the payment is agreed.  They will remain at that level for the full 12 months.

Managers should seek advice from the relevant Strategic HR Business Partner when considering any payments and establish whether there is evidence for a case to be made.  The evidence must show that pay is a genuine problem with the recruitment or retention of: 

  • a specific occupational group 
  • a specific post 
  • or, posts in a particular geographical area of the county 

We will inform recognised trade unions on all decisions to pay attraction or retention supplements. 

Managers must inform the appropriate portfolio holder of any payments made.

Assessment and approval process

Once the senior manager responsible for the job role has submitted the evidence to Director and the relevant Strategic HR Business Partner, the DLT will assess the case and will determine whether to approve it. 

The evidence should show that pay is a crucial factor in our ability to recruit or retain employees in this job. As a guide managers can use the information below.

Evidence summary table - to be agreed with the senior business partner  

Issue Evidence criteria
Pay-related retention difficulties Labour turnover should be in excess of 20 per cent over a 12-month period
Or, number of times vacant over a 12-month period: twice in one year
Reasons for retention difficulty Information from exit interviews
Evidence of leaving for higher pay at same job level
Pay-related recruitment difficulties Insufficient number of applicants or of a suitable quality
Number of attempts at recruitment
Reasons for recruitment difficulty Establish the link with pay
Ensure other factors are not influencing (for example, job structure, advertising, recruitment pack, selection process and development opportunities)
Market issues Surveys, professional body information, journal articles illustrating skill shortages or difficulties with occupational groups
Large numbers of advertisements for similar posts
Information from similar authorities

Where evidence criteria is met

Issue Examples
Likely effectiveness of a supplement payment Attract more applicants
Pay in line with other authorities
Pay databases
Evidence of difference of terms and conditions between the council and the marketplace Define the significant difference between the council and national. Should be at least 10 per cent of salary
Telephone survey or questionnaire
Assessment of likely impact of supplement payment Existing post-holders
Starting a precedent
Budget provision
Review every two years Check against criteria
Consideration of alternative recruitment and retention strategies Consult with the talent and resourcing team

Some posts are joint-funded or a partnership post where we are the employer. We will consider attraction or retention supplements if the criteria are met.

DLTs will record the reasons for such decisions. This will ensure we: 

  • apply the procedure fairly, consistently and is not gender-biased 
  • have clear and objective evidence 
  • justify any attraction or retention supplement 
  • record all attraction or retention supplements we awarded
  • make comparable jobs a mixture of posts held by males and females 

Where there is insufficient evidence to support a request, the DLT may: 

  • reject it, giving reasons to the relevant senior manager
  • return it, requesting more evidence for further consideration 

The relevant director determines and recommends the appropriate level of the supplement with the rationale documented at DLT meetings. 

All attraction and retention payments are to be reported.


The payment of any supplement is time-limited for a period of up to two years. It can be fewer if the appointment is for less than two years. The payment is subject to re-assessment after 12 months.

Any payment is subject to satisfactory performance in the role. It is in addition to any pay increments as set out in our pay policy.  

Attraction and retention supplements will cease should the employee's individual contribution in the role be below the expected standard of our performance management policies:

The manager will write to the employee with details of retention supplement payable. It will contain an agreement to the terms of the supplement which both parties must sign. Details of attraction supplement arrangements will be included in a new employee's contract.

Managers responsibilities for setting up payments

Managers are responsible for setting up payments and completing the relevant Business World forms, which will inform payroll.

Managers will also need to upload the attraction and retention letter and agreement into the document archive on Business World. 

Further guidance for managers and the template letters and agreements are available on Lincs2Learn.  

Recovery of payments 

The employee must repay any supplement if, within two years, they: 

  • voluntarily leave the council 
  • are dismissed for any reason other than redundancy  

We will reduce the amount of payment proportionately for each full month of service. 

The terms and conditions of employment issued by HR explain the conditions, method and period of the payments. 

Relocation allowance 

When advertising a position, managers may consider the use of a relocation allowance. For more details, read our relocation policy

Recruitment of graduates 

A manager may consider cash payments towards repaying student loans for newly-employed graduates. Options include: 

  • an annual payment for a maximum of three years following satisfactory completion of probation 
  • paying a percentage of the total loan regardless of the amount (For example, 25 per cent for the first two years of employment. We would pay it on the anniversary of the start date) 
  • repayment of the outstanding loan. The repayment period should equal or exceed the period of study. 

Bursary schemes 

Managers may consider implementing a bursary scheme within a service area. 

This involves the sponsorship of students who are accepted on to graduate courses by providing: 

  • a lump-sum bursary payment at the start of each academic year 
  • paid work placements where required 
  • work during holidays 

If a trainee has received funding through a bursary, they must enter into a legal agreement. The trainee must pay back the funding if they breach the agreement. 


We have an objective to maximise the opportunities of apprenticeships. They enable us to meet the service area and council workforce planning priorities.  

For further information, read our apprenticeship policy

We make additional payments to apprentices which are over and above the national apprentice rate (year one) and the minimum wage or national living wage (years two and three).

For new children’s social worker apprentices it is a condition of the contract that the funding of the qualifications and this additional payment that apprentices remain working for us for three years post qualification.  This is providing we are able to offer a social worker position following their qualification. If an apprentice leaves before completing three years post qualification we will deduct some of the additional payments from final salary and provide an invoice and proposed repayment plan for the remainder. The details of the additional payments which would be due for repayment will be provided in the apprentice contract.

Alternative non-financial strategies

To promote the attraction and retention of staff, the manager should consider: 

  • improving the outward image of the council. Show it as a great place to work and Lincolnshire as an excellent place to live. Liaise with the talent and resourcing team on specific wording for adverts 
  • the benefits of joining an excellent organisation 
  • the benefits of working with a local government organisation 
  • financial and non-financial staff benefits including final salary pension schemes 
  • other methods of recruitment, such as: 
    • TU sources 
    • overseas recruitment 
    • internal redeployment 
    • training and development opportunities 
  • improving the working environment 
  • using flexible working schemes, home or remote working. 
  • targeting similar or new occupational groups doing similar work 
  • trying non-traditional elements of working people, such as older or younger people, ex-prisoners and socially disadvantaged people 
  • succession planning to foresee vacancies 
  • training schemes 
  • university graduates

Appointment of agency workers or graduate placement students

Where there is an agency worker or a graduate student placement filling a hard to recruit or retain position and you wish to appoint them permanently a reduced appointment process can be followed.  This can be found in the recruitment policy.