Employers have been getting creative with the perks they offer to their employees. Some have introduced puppy parental leave, some are willing to contribute up to £16,000 to the employee's wedding budget and others have focused on family friendly initiatives, including paying for female staff to get their eggs frozen, couriering breast milk home and granting up to a year of parental leave.
However, when introducing employment related benefits, prior thought needs to be given by the employer, for example:
- Will it be a contractual entitlement? If so, it will be much more difficult for them to change or withdraw the benefit at a later date.
- Are any conditions attached? If so, care needs to be taken to ensure that such conditions are not discriminatory.
- What happens on termination? Clear parameters will be needed about whether the benefit is pro-rated or lost entirely.
Occupational psychologist Cheryl Isaacs says that having generous employee perks can be a good way for a company to help ensure that it has a contented workforce, and that numerous studies have shown (perhaps unsurprisingly) that happy staff are more productive. One such recent report into the issue by the University of Warwick found that employee happiness boosted productivity by 12%, while unhappy workers were 10% less productive. However, London-based Ms Isaacs cautions that the benefits should apply to most employees, and not just a few. "A deeper question that each individual organisation needs to answer is: does the benefit bring ROI [return on investment']? Will it have any long-lasting benefits for the company?" she says.