Improving fringe benefit schemes for low earners

Heather Carey, Helen Sheldon and Monica Andriescu

This report explores how to maximise the value of fringe benefits – an important but under-researched component of good work. It offers insight to businesses committed to improving the quality of jobs, and to catalysing industry-wide action on this issue.

With a growth of employment rates alongside record high levels of in-work poverty, attention has shifted to focus on the quality of work and how that might be improved. The Work Foundation has worked in partnership with businesses in the retail and social care sectors to explore how to maximise the value of fringe benefits.

Key points:

  • Fringe benefits can support low earners, in particular schemes that help to mitigate living costs. But despite rapid expansion of the employee benefits market, employers are failing to maximise their value for low earners and failing to reap the rewards of improved employee engagement, productivity and performance.
  • This study proposes a ‘framework of good practice’ – comprised of seven important steps – for employers looking to maximise the value of fringe benefits for low earners.
  • There is a need for new resources, support and incentives for employers to embed the framework for good practice within their business and raise the bar of job quality in low-paid roles.