Benefits that stretch employee salaries further

Benefits save employees moneyAccording to research by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), employees in the UK have experienced a bigger fall in real wages than any other workforce in the world’s top ten developed economies.

The Global Race Report found that real wages fell by 4.5% in the UK between 2007 and 2011, compared to declines of 2.7% in Italy and 0.7% in Japan whilst wages in Australia and Canada rose by 6.9% and 5.4%, respectively.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said:

“While most countries have suffered periods of negative wage growth, no-one has witnessed such a marked decline as the UK. Businesses desperately need people to spend money, but employees are cutting back as their wages are squeezed.”

Employee benefit schemes can go a long way to helping employees stretch their salary further, not to mention help you recruit and retain top performing staff. Voluntary benefits schemes enable employers to offer their staff discounts and savings on a range of everyday high street items and lifestyle benefits such as childcare vouchers, gym membership and cashback from high street stores.

Here is our guide to some great the employee benefits that help employers to make their staff’s salaries stretch a little further…

 

Cashback Cards

MySpree CardCashback cards, such as the MySpree card, enable you to offer your staff savings without it hitting your bottom line. These prepaid cards are neither a debit nor credit card; instead employees load funds onto the card before using it online or instore – the key difference being that if the individual spends at participating retailers they earn cashback on every purchase.

 

Childcare vouchers

Although there will be changes to the childcare voucher system soon they are still a must-have benefit for employees with school-age or younger children. By using a salary sacrifice scheme families can claim childcare vouchers that are free of income tax and National Insurance Contributions, giving parents the opportunity to make substantial savings.

 

Health programmes

Keeping your employees healthy by incorporating a health programme into your employee benefits package is great for productivity, it also reduces absenteeism and improves wellbeing. Gym memberships are costly but employers can offer discounted deals, alternatively you might opt to include a cycle to work scheme, eye care and dental plans or health checks for all the family.

 

Holiday buyback

Holiday buybackHoliday buyback schemes are becoming more popular as some employees simply cannot afford to take the annual trip away. Instead of an employee carrying holiday over to the next year, holiday buyback schemes either allow the employer to buy back the holiday in return for a cash sum or the employee can opt at the beginning of the year to take less leave and receive a larger monthly salary.

At the opposite end of the scale, employers can also give staff the option to purchase additional holiday should they wish to take more days out of the office with the family. The key here is to provide flexibility.

 

Mobile phone

Mobile phones, and in particular smart phones, are an indispensable part of daily life. Voluntary benefit schemes can give your employees access to the latest mobile phone technology through salary sacrifice contributions which save on income tax and National Insurance.

 

At a time when pay rises may not be affordable employee benefits such as those above can not only stretch your staff’s salaries further but they can also help improve your employee’s morale.

 

John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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