Network Homes gives staff £2,400 cost-of-living pay increase

Affordable housing association Network Homes has implemented a consolidated cost-of-living pay increase of £2,400 for each employee.

The organisation decided on an overall pot of money, and then considered three different options for how to distribute the amount across its employee base.

According to Network Homes, the chosen pay increase, which applies to the 2023-24 financial year, resulted in 80% of Network Homes’ employees receiving a higher increase than was available with the other potential options. At the lower end of the pay scale, the increase amounted to 10%, while at the top it amounted to 1%; 138 employees received an increase to their gross pay of more than 7%.

The organisation also agreed to a higher increase to apprentice pay, bringing their remuneration in line with the London Living Wage, which is currently set at £11.95.

Network Homes outlined that by introducing a set increase across all employees, the largest proportional increases would go to those at the lower end of its pay range. The approach also reflected the fact that current challenges centre around energy and other essential costs, which are consumed at similar levels across different pay groups.

The pay increase was introduced to align with the organisation’s five core ‘Heart’ values: hungry, embrace everyone, accountable, respectful, and together.

In a LinkedIn post announcing the pay rise, Jamie Ratcliff, executive director of people, partnerships and sustainability at Network Homes, said: “This, like all our expenditure considerations, was challenging in the face of extreme cost pressures. These arise not only from inflation [as] many of our costs are going up well above the headline rates, but also additional expectations upon us as an organisation arising from the Fire Safety Act 2021, the Building Safety Act 2022 and the forthcoming Social Housing Regulation Bill.

“The current focus on housing associations, in part arising from national shock at the tragic death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale, in the media and the government’s advertising campaign encouraging social tenants to complain to their landlord, and the Housing Ombudsman, are also creating additional demands.

“We are having to manage these challenges against the backdrop of a cap on regulated rented homes of 7%; 4.1% below the level at which our rents would have otherwise been allowed to rise by, and a voluntary cap we have imposed on shared ownership rents at 7%.

“We know that this increase will not cover all of the increased costs that many colleagues are facing but I hope that through sharing the considerations involved in the decision we can demonstrate our Heart values in action to current and future colleagues.”

Network Homes offers its staff a range of core, flexible and voluntary benefits. These include service awards of additional annual leave, the opportunity to buy and sell five holiday days, 14 hours of paid volunteering leave, enhanced parental leave and pay, flexible-working arrangements, access to various rewards and discounts provided by Perkbox, and interest-free loans on items including season tickets and rental deposit schemes.