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1. Major project contracting.

An amount withheld, for example 5% or 10%, from payments due to a contractor, to ensure that the contractor properly completes all of the activities required under the contract, including any necessary remedial work.

Known in the US as retainage.

The recovery of retention is often a difficult area for parties in the contractual chain and cash flow problems frequently arise resulting from non-payment.

Retention is commonly not released on time or in accordance with the contract.

For subcontractors in particular, the release of retention may rely on circumstances outside of their contract or their control, for example, defects being remedied under the main contract by other parties.

Retention bonds are a way of avoiding problems associated with retention recovery.

2. Contract law.

A contractual delay in the passing of an ownership interest, for example retention of title.

3. Dividend policy.

Amounts of profits held within a business for future growth, rather than being distributed as dividends.

4. Staffing.

A measure of the extent to which staff remain employed for the longer term, rather than leaving to take other employments.

The inverse of staff turnover.

See also