John Lewis Partnership to award a 3% bonus

John Lewis Waitrose

Retailer John Lewis Partnership is to pay all its employees across John Lewis and Waitrose a bonus worth 3% of their salary for 2018-2019, totalling £44.7 million.

The bonuses have been awarded after the organisation announced its profit before tax, bonuses and exceptional payments of £160 million in the year ending 26 January 2019. These figures were published as part of John Lewis Partnership’s un-audited results report, prior to the release of its Annual reports and accounts 2019, which will be published in April 2019.

In 2017-2018, John Lewis Partnership employees were given a 5% bonus, amounting to £74 million overall. This year’s lower bonus award has been designed to ensure financial security while still sharing business success with staff.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, partner and chairman at John Lewis Partnership, said: “The board has awarded a bonus at 3%. This enables us to continue debt reduction, maintain our level of investment and retain solid cash reserves to cope with the continuing uncertainty facing consumers and the economy. We expect 2019 trading conditions to remain challenging, but are confident in our strategic direction and customer offer across both brands.”

In the year up to 26 January 2019, John Lewis Partnership increased the hourly rate of base pay for non-management staff to £9.16 an hour. The organisation predicts this will increase further, by around 4.5%, following its April 2019 pay review. For 2018-2019, the total paid in pay provision was £30.3 million.

Over the course of the last year, John Lewis Partnership has also reviewed its employee dining provisions, including the food and drink served in dining rooms, to align with its aim to be the healthiest UK employer. Furthermore, it has invested in leadership development for more than 250 of its most senior leaders and expanded its apprenticeship programme; more than 900 apprentices have been enrolled across areas such as retail, vehicle maintenance, hospitality, HR, project management and finance.

The business has also launched a network of wellbeing champions, which now has more than 430 members across 130 locations. John Lewis Partnership further reports that employees have accessed the available mental and physical health support, saving more than 60,000 working days across the year.

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Mayfield added: “Part of our strategy [is] to build up our cash reserves as a defence against uncertainty in the economy and to enable us to maintain annual investment at £400 million to £500 million per year. We have also made significant investment in our [employees] during the year, particularly leadership development, apprenticeships and pay, with our average hourly rate for non-management [employees] rising to £9.16, 17% above the national living wage.”

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “A bonus of 3% for John Lewis [employees] is hardly cause for celebration, but given current trading conditions, it’s better than a poke in the eye. Indeed, there had been some speculation that no bonuses might be awarded this year, so staff can breathe a small sigh of relief.”