Report for FDs: Firms offer discount plans in downturn

†Voluntary benefits plans are being used to help employees deal with the economic downturn.
Employers such as Punch Taverns, Volkswagen Financial Services, Heinz and Royal Borough of Kingston are some of the organisations that have launched or expanded plans to help increase employee spending power.
Heinz launches its voluntary benefits plan to 3,500 employees at the end of November. The plan allows staff to buy discounted retail vouchers and get money off products bought online.
Ken Horrocks, head of reward for Heinz UK and Ireland, said: “Anticipation for the first phase is high as the crunch means employees are looking for savings, particularly on everyday items.”
Punch Taverns extended the coverage of its voluntary benefits plan to all 20,000 staff across the UK. Tina Samson, interim reward manager for the company, said: “These voluntary benefits add to and enhance our current package. People have a bit more spending power.”
Volkswagen Financial Services launched voluntary benefits for over 450 staff and offers discounts at more than 100 retailers.
 While The Royal Borough of Kingston launched a voluntary benefits programme for its 4,000 staff after a survey showed decreasing levels in pay satisfaction.
David Ward, pay and rewards manager, said: “[The plan] gives us a unique way to increase the spending power of all our staff, particularly relevant in the current economic climate.”

Back to Employee Benefits Report for Financial Directors – November 2008