Project preview: Fringe benefits – improving business performance and tackling in-work poverty

Earlier this month we celebrated Living Wage Week, recognising the commitment made by over 3,700 businesses to pay their staff a fair wage, that reflects the real cost of living in different parts of the country. This is a considerable achievement in the battle against in-work poverty, which now affects 7.4 million people in the UK.

At the Work Foundation we are exploring other ways employers can support their low paid workforce as part of our Commission on Good Work. We are collaborating with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on an interesting project looking at employee ‘fringe’ benefits and their potential to support better working practices and an improved reward package for low paid workers. This is a market that has exploded over the past decade as businesses increasingly recognise the importance of their total reward package in attracting talent; promoting employee retention and engagement; and ultimately driving improved productivity and performance.

But to what extent are these practices being deployed in low-paid sectors? Which benefits hold most value for low-paid workers? What does good practice look like and how can we incentivise more of it?

These are the critical questions we are looking to address through our research. Our ambition is to catalyse industry-wide action on this issue and we have brought together a group of passionate and committed businesses from the retail and care sectors to work collaboratively to co-develop a framework of good practice and to co-design a toolkit of support and resources that will enable more businesses to implement the right employee benefit schemes for their business, and their workforce. We will be reporting in February of next year, so watch this space!