Almost two-thirds (63%) of UK employers offer additional benefits to married employees, according to research by Thomsons Online Benefits.
The survey of 250 UK organisations with more than 250 employees also found that employees who are either married or in civil partnerships receive the equivalent of an estimated £2,390 extra per year in the form of additional benefits, compared to their single or cohabiting peers.
Additional holiday entitlements provided for weddings and honeymoons, as well as celebratory gifts and greater employee employee contributions to health and dental plans are all factors that increase the benefits package of a married employee.
The research found that employees who get married or enter into a civil partnership receive an additional 5.4 days of annual leave, equivalent to £1,083 in pay. In addition, 17% of respondents reported buying wedding gifts for employees, costing on average an additional £77.
Three-quarters (75%) of employers are more likely to offer family healthcare plans to married employees over their single colleagues, and more than two-fifths (42%) are more likely to offer married employees access to family dental plans. The research estimated that an employer contribution to a healthcare plan equates to an annual boost of £1,050, and dental care £180.
When it comes to flexible working, single employees are also falling behind; more than half (53%) of married employees were offered flexible working arrangements, compared to less than two-fifths (37%) of single members of staff.
Jack Curzon, consulting director at Thomsons Online Benefits, said: “Society is evolving all the time. It’s critical that employers evolve too, to recognise and support the diverse lifestyle choices that will now exist in their workplaces.
“It’s great that employers are supporting families and giving people paid time off to enjoy an important life event, but this treatment needs to be extended to all. Employers are trying to be inclusive, but they need to ensure they don’t end up discriminating against the average single person, or couples that don’t choose to get married, as a result.”