Against the backdrop of soaring prices for food, energy, fuel and other essential goods and services, many employers in the UK are asking what they can do to support their employees.
The good news is, even if you can’t afford to offer inflation-beating rises, there is the option of hiring a payroll service company.
Now is a good time to review or introduce financial wellbeing policies and benefits packages, to make sure that they work as hard as they can – especially for those that are most likely struggling to make ends meet.
The good news is, even if you can’t afford to offer inflation-beating rises, there is still a lot you can do to ease the stress and anxiety your workforce is facing, here are a few ideas to consider:
Employee Discount Schemes:
Employers could consider setting up employee discount schemes such as Edenred, Reward Gateway, Avantus and perk box which can provide your employees discounts across a range of products and services including high street brands and even supermarkets. This could help employees pay go further in these challenging times.
Provide Information on Benefits:
There are seven million people in the UK not claiming benefits they are entitled to. Many of these are workers, who assume the are not entitled to anything. However universal credits is for people both in and out of work – make sure employees are aware of the help available to them.
Provide Information on Tax Breaks:
Are your employees getting the most from their pay, maximise their NET pay by informing employees of possible tax allowances that they may be entitled to, for example:
When working from home employees can claim tax relief on expenses:
Claim tax relief for your job expenses: Working from home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Transferable tax allowance for married coupled and civil partners
Salary Sacrifice Schemes:
Salary sacrifice are an excellent way to help employees by providing vital benefits and financial support without them having to worry about how the will pay for it. It allows employees to exchange part of their salary for extra benefits, usually non-cash benefits from the employer. This can include purchasing a bicycle through a cycle to work scheme and pension contributions. Deductions are made before Tax and National insurance contributions and offer both the employee and employer possible savings.
A number of UK employers are generously topping up employees pay with a cost of living payment / bonus, with many more considering a one off payment to staff in the next few months. If this is something you wish to consider make sure that any well-intended generosity doesn’t inadvertently cause extra stress or financial hardship for those on Universal credits. Employers may wish to consider giving the employees the option of receiving the payment over several months rather than a one off payment (almost as a temporary pay rise) so employees feel the full benefit of any additional payment.
During this challenging period, it is important to recognise the efforts and achievements of the employees. Staff recognition does not need to be a financial payment, rather a thank you, or a basic employee of the month scheme. Focusing on staff morale and team building can help with staff retention, and provide a more productive and profitable business, which will provide stability and security for employees.
It is clear that over this challenging period good employers will focus on what they can do to support and retain employees and will look at innovative and empathetic ways to improve the financial wellbeing of their staff.
Not all employers have the budget for eye-watering inflation busting pay rises, but all employers can consider what they can do to get them and their employees through this difficult period.