Basically, anyone who has a job in the UK is entitled to what are commonly dubbed “employee benefits”. These are extras included as part of a contract of employment, and serve various purposes – including attracting and keeping workers, boosting their wellbeing and incentivising them to work hard.
However, when perusing UK job vacancies, you could see so many different employee benefits mentioned that you are led to wonder to what extent they are standardised across the country. Truthfully, while many of these benefits are offered simply on the employer’s initiative, others are legally required.
What Employee Benefits Are Legally Mandatory In The UK?
As the employment agency Reed explains on its website, these mandatory benefits are called “core benefits” – and every employee, regardless of what level they occupy and how long they have worked at the company, is entitled to these benefits, which can be sorted into three distinct categories.
One of those categories concerns contributions the employer makes to the employee’s retirement fund – typically a workplace pension. Another category is income protection (IP) – where, as the Startups website notes, the employer pays the employee an ongoing monthly income if they are physically unable to work.
Then there’s the third category: that of holiday allowance. This entitles the employee to at least 5.6 weeks’ time off per year. However, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has found that many UK employers offer holiday allowance exceeding the minimum required by law – perhaps unsurprisingly, as an above-average holiday allowance can help to attract new workers to the organisation.
So, what employee benefits might be offered simply as extras?
Of course, the word “simply” might be putting it mildly, as benefits offered above and beyond the legally-required standard can actually be powerful incentives for people to choose a certain job over another. Some jobseekers even prize attractive perks more than a high salary when searching for a new position.
Healthcare and risk benefits are good examples of employee benefits that, though not legally compulsory in the UK, employers should seriously consider offering in order to draw notice from promising candidates. These perks include employee assistance plans, eye care vouchers and gym memberships.
There’s also life insurance, which can be offered as a group life insurance benefit. This means that, if the offer is taken up, some of the risk of providing the insurance is transferred to a third party. Hence, group risk insurance policies – which are also available in the form of group income protection and group critical illness cover – can be very attractive policies for employers to specify in a job description.
However, if you are a UK-based employer yourself, you could find that what employee benefits you do place on the table are limited largely by your own imagination. Those benefits could include a company car, childcare vouchers and – especially relevant in the work-from-home era – flexible working hours.
Other, quirkier perks you could contemplate offering include concierge services and – in the office – ping-pong tables, a nap room and free or subsidised staff canteens.