SMEs boost employee benefits to control costs

Benefits-agreementAlmost half of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are considering offering improved employee benefits packages in lieu of pay rises to help manage costs.

Around one in ten employees of SMEs have been offered enhanced benefits, with the most likely option of extra paid holidays cited by 48% of those concerned. More flexible working hours (42%) and working from home (13%) were also options mentioned.

Just 8% of employees believe they will definitely receive a pay rise in the next twelve months.

The findings came to light in a nationwide study by insurance and financial services provider Metlife.

Dominic Grinstead, managing director at Metlife UK, said: “It is encouraging to see a number of SMEs in the UK looking at embracing more sophisticated employee benefits packages in the future.

“They may need to do more. At a time when cost control has become paramount, and difficult questions are being asked by staff regarding pay, flexible employee benefits are an excellent answer for the UK’s SMEs and their employees alike.”

Data from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills shows that SMEs employ more than 22.8 million people and represent nearly 99% of all UK companies.

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