· 2 min read · Features

Pay rises in an uncertain climate, part one


Is it practical for HR to support a shift to a higher minimum wage for employees during a recession?

At a time when many budgets are under intense pressure, some companies have chosen to go above and beyond the National Minimum Wage to support their employees. Plant-based food company THIS also announced that it would be setting a £35,000 minimum salary for all levels of employees this year. But are such moves practical in the current climate?


Daisy Roach, head of HR and payroll, Better Food

If a company can afford to pay its staff above the job market average, then they should. As a country, generally, we are a knowledge economy, and we should be recognising that.

While the economy may be strained, there are a lot of companies that have prospered during the pandemic. Being in the food retail industry, Better Food has been able to stay open throughout and we’ve even been taking on a lot of additional staff. We’ve had people come into the businesses as retail staff who were previously working in high-paying marketing jobs, and that’s been difficult for them.

Just because there is a going rate and a set minimum bottom line when it comes to wages, doesn’t mean that that is what we should be aiming for. We should always be aiming to do that little bit more.


Sabrina Munns, head of people and culture, E-days

Offering employees generous benefit packages is a great way to not only attract the best talent to your organisation but also maintain your existing talent. However, not all businesses are in a position to increase their wage bill.

Fortunately, this is not the only perk that prospective hires look for when considering a move or change in company. In fact, 94% of employees consider a company’s employee brand before applying for a job. This means companies can fine tune their offering to entice new talent and keep their existing talent happy.

One great way to do this is tweaking your employees’ holiday allowance. At E-days we decided to practice what we preach, and we looked to make our offering better. We now offer all employees, regardless of if they have been with us for six months or three years, 28 days annual leave and bank holidays, as well as two ‘me-days’. These me-days can be ‘cashed’ in at any point during the year without significant warning, for the days when getting out of bed and staring at a screen
are just too much.


More on this topic:

Pay freezes could put HR in a difficult position

Workers can warm to a pay freeze if handled sensitively

Could flexible pay become a new trend now we're working remotely?


Check back tomorrow for part two of this hot topic.

This piece appears in the March/April 2021 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk