How can employee benefits help your employees through the cost of living crisis?
Employee benefits offer countless positives for businesses, including higher productivity, boosted morale, and higher employee retention. The most important benefit is that it can help your team through the current financial crisis. The cost-of-living crisis is bound to be a worrying time for your employees. According to the Chartered Institute of Personal Development, one in four employees have said that money worries can impact their ability to carry out their job. Employees can suffer from finance related anxiety which can have a huge impact on their personal and working life. This can affect their physical and mental health, their motivation and their relationships both in and out of the workplace.
The most obvious help that businesses can provide to their staff with the cost-of-living crisis is to offer inflation beating pay increases, however with many organisations feeling the impact of these issues too, an increase to the salary bill is not always going to be an option.
Here are some employee benefits you can look at to help ease some of the financial burden on your employees:
Employee Benefits Platform UK
There are lots of companies who provide tailor made employee benefits packages to suit your business. These platforms offer staff the opportunity to access corporate benefits digitally and all in one place. They are able to log in to access discounts on a wide range of shops and services either through an app or desktop.
Here at The HR Booth we have begun working with Caboodle. Caboodle offer a wide range of benefit schemes which are managed entirely by them and delivered through their platform. Packages include financial wellbeing, health and wellbeing, lifestyle, salary sacrifice schemes, workplace benefits, and commuting.
Our employees will now benefit from discounts from many supermarkets, retailers, gym memberships, and more.
Real living wage
While the national minimum wage is mandatory, the real living wage, which is higher, is voluntary and applies to workers aged 18 years and over. Businesses that voluntarily opt into the real living wage scheme help to ensure that their employees earn a wage that is enough to live on and meet their everyday needs.
Not only will this help your employees tackle the cost of living crisis, it will also add to your good reputation as an employer who cares about your staff. The real living wage is currently £9.90 across the UK and £11.05 in London. The new living wage rates will be announced on 22nd September. Our outsourced HR consultants will share updates on this once they have been announced. If you would like to implement this or a similar system, our HR Consultants are more than happy to help you with this.
Employee Assistance Programme
An employee assistance programme is a confidential service providing help and advice for employees. It provides counselling and support without the need for a GP referral. This service can cover a wide range of help and assistance including mental health support for finance-related anxiety.
Sell back unused annual leave
Employers should always encourage employees to take their annual leave as everyone needs a break from work. However, receiving extra income from a few days that they have not taken could be a significant help.
Working from home expenses
Employees who work from home will be using their own internet, gas, and electricity. In addition, paying your employee an agreed allowance each month can be a great help to them as employee benefits. We are pleased to say we have done this for many years here at The HR Booth.
HMRC rules around working from home allowance states that it can only cover additional costs incurred by the employee working from home. The two main approached include:
- The employer paying £6/week for weekly paid employees (£4/week prior to 6 April 2020); or
- £26/month for monthly paid employees (£18/month prior to 6 April 2020).
Paying at these rates means that employers don’t need to justify the expenditure and your staff doesn’t need to keep a record of their additional costs.
Savings for employees come from paying lower income tax and national insurance contributions due to their reduced pay. Some typical examples that can be salary sacrificed are childcare vouchers, cycle to work schemes, mobile phones, and laptops.
Listen and understand
A listening ear will go a long way! A compassionate and understanding manager can and will help. Speaking about money worries or debt might be difficult for some employees, different employees will have different needs; however, some employees might benefit from voicing their concerns. Check up on them via regular 121 meetings or over an informal coffee chat.
At The HR Booth, we have a regular team meeting where there is one strict rule – no work talk! This began with the Samaritans campaign, Brew Monday where they encouraged everyone to catch up with someone for a brew to offer support if needed. We decided to meet on Microsoft teams on Blue Monday to talk about everything and anything but work. We liked this idea so much that we now meet as a team once a month for 45 minutes to check-in on each other. It’s now on a Wednesday and we’ve renamed it ‘team chinwag’.
This type of forum might be good way to share money saving ideas.
Employee benefits are a great way to support your staff through the cost of living crisis. Especially if you’re unable to offer salary increases. It will go a long way to improving wellbeing, boosting morale, and creating a better work-life balance for your team. If you would like support with implementing an employee benefit scheme, we would love to help you with this.