Barclays is considering controversial plans to dodge a new bonus cap from Brussels.
The EU is preparing for a crackdown next year which will limit bonuses to one year's salary, rising to twice salary with shareholders' approval.
One option Barclays is discussing with major shareholders is a new award for senior staff based on their seniority and responsibilities.
Employees would receive the cash award in monthly instalments, on top of their basic salary and bonus.
Sources insisted it would not increase their overall package as it will not count towards their pension and will be factored in when bonuses are awarded.
The government has launched a legal challenge against the bonus cap. It fears it will simply cause banks to hike their basic pay, making it harder to claw back money for wrongdoing as well as increasing their fixed costs.
Banks, including HSBC, have expressed concern that the restrictions will lead to staff being poached by US and Asia-based rivals.
But Deborah Hargreaves from the High Pay Centre said: ‘I'm sceptical. Barclays said they would have ethical pay policy and link bonuses to the performance of the bank. This would seem to go against the spirit of that. If this is designed to stop staff from being poached it would also seem to be disingenuous to say their packages will not be increased.'
The news comes as business chiefs from firms including Barclays and Unilever meet with religious leaders at a conference in London as part of a drive to restore ethics in business.
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