What are the best benefits to offer employees

employee benefits, benefit in kind, employees

For a few months now, we have known there is an acute shortage of talented people in the general workforce in the United Kingdom.

Some industries such as hospitality are having more of an acute shortage due to other factors such as Brexit, but staff shortage is spreading across all industries and in all parts of the UK.


So, if you are blessed with a good team and have worked hard in the past to train them, how do you make sure you retain those individuals going forward?

The number one desire for most employees post pandemic is to have the option of working flexibly and have the option to work remotely.


But you need to get the remote working right for your business


The other thing you can do to retain your talent is re-consider the package you offer to your existing and new staff.  Here we have a look at the seven most desirable benefits and perks.


7 Top Benefits for Employees


  1. Private Medical Insurance

Private Medical benefit is always high on the agenda for most employees.  It is in everyone’s interest that the employee is treated as soon as possible and returns to work with good health.  Very often this is extended to the immediate members of the family too.  We are all mindful of the current waiting lists at the NHS and you providing private health cover will be looked at with glee by most staff.

However, depending on age and previous medical condition, this is not a cheap benefit.  Average cost can easily start at £100 per member per month.

The benefit is also a taxable benefit in kind and so the employer will pay Class 1A NIC and the employee will pay tax at their top rate.

The benefit will need to be reported on form p11d.


  1. Life Insurance


This is another popular benefit especially for those who have dependants. The easiest way to offer this is via the group life insurance also known as “death in service” benefit.


Whilst the employee is working with you, should the unthinkable happen, their nominated family member will receive a non-taxable cash lump sum.


Very often this benefit is wrapped around a decent group pension scheme and the premiums are not usually treated as a benefit in kind.


  1. Pension Plan

This is still a sought-after benefit.  The introduction of the workplace pension scheme in 2012 has made it compulsory for employers to have an auto-enrolment scheme in place for all eligible employees.

However, the minimum to stay compliant is not necessarily the best and the most rewarding option for your employees.  For example, currently as an employer you only must pay 3% if an employee contributed 5%. But the split does not have to be done like this, you can go for 4% & 4% or you pay 6% and the employee only pays 2% or a number of combinations.

The choice is yours so long as the minimum total contribution into the pension fund is 8%.

The choice of the pension providers and funds is also an interesting one.  There are high performing pension companies and funds, but they tend to be more expensive.  NEST and Peoples Pension are not necessarily offering the best performing funds.


  1. Salary Sacrifice Scheme

A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement to reduce an employee’s cash pay usually in return for a non-cash benefit.

The impact for tax is the PAYE and National Insurance (for both employee and employer) is calculated after the salary sacrifice.

Currently the benefits that qualify for this scheme are:

  • payments into pension schemes
  • employer provided pensions advice
  • workplace nurseries
  • childcare vouchers and directly contracted employer provided childcare that started on or before 4 October 2018
  • bicycles and cycling safety equipment (including cycle to work)


  1. Employee Assisted Programme (EAP)

This benefit has grown in popularity over the years as it has become affordable for small businesses.

The idea is to help employees access help when needed, whether this is  wellbeing for you and your team, providing subsidised access to the gym or providing help with debt issues etc.  It is there to ensure support is available when needed by your staff to deal with any potential issues threatening their overall emotional wellbeing.

If EAP’s are offered to all employees and not just a select few, it is a tax exempt benefit.


  1. Professional Subscriptions

If your team needs to pay a professional subscription due to their qualification, it is a great gesture and an extra perk if the business offers to pay for it.

So long as the subscription is paid to a professional body relevant to the qualification of the member of the team concerned, this is a tax exempt benefit.


  1. Food & Drink


Providing free tea/coffee and fresh fruit in the common areas of the office is a simple action  to show that you care.


Your team will love this benefit and in fact most office staff expect this benefit as a minimum.


Why does it all matter?

With a restricted talent pool your business is competing with other big business out there.  Geographical location is no longer a barrier, so you need to up the ante.  Of course, business affordability comes into the equation and if all the benefits are not viable, start with one.

You need to look after your team, provide training and offer perks.  If you have a happy team they will deliver.

As usual this blog is there to give you an overview of the most common options available.  We would always recommend that you take specific advice before adopting any of the suggestions.


Get in touch enquiries@myersclark.co.uk so see how we can help.