M&S sets out £15m investment to support staff in response to cost-of-living crisis

M&S has today set out a £15m package to support its front-line colleagues in the cost-of-living crisis.

With rising cost concerns top of colleagues' minds, M&S has introduced an additional Autumn pay review for the first time, whilst extending its already wide-ranging wellbeing benefits for colleagues.

From 1 October, over 40,000 colleagues will see their hourly pay increased to a minimum of £10.20 which follows an initial pay increase to £10.00 (from £9.50) in April this year, remaining ahead of both the national and real living wage.

Combined, this represents an annual uplift of 7.4% and means a full-time customer assistant will earn over £100 more each month compared to October 2021. In addition, the retailer will also provide its 4500 salaried colleagues at pre-management levels in its stores and support centres with a one-off £250 voucher to spend at M&S.

Base pay for colleagues is supplemented by a 20% M&S discount, its generous pension commitment and colleague share save scheme.

M&S has used its colleague listening schemes, such as Straight to Stuart, and feedback from colleague representatives in its Business Involvement Group (BIG) to help shape the update to benefits to ensure it reflects the needs of colleagues in this challenging time.

The benefits and support include:
> Free everyday food items and sanitary products: M&S is launching a free meal per shift for colleagues at its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington. M&S already provides all-year round free everyday food items and refreshments to store colleagues. This month, M&S has also introduced free sanitary products to colleagues across all stores and sites.

> Free financial planning workshops: All M&S colleagues can take part in free financial planning workshops and have access to free online planning tools and information on its wellbeing hub.

> Free health benefits: M&S provides market leading health and wellbeing benefits to colleagues and their families, including access to a Virtual GP service, Unmind mental wellbeing app, health check screenings and free eye tests.

> Support from M&S company nutritionist: Over the last three years, M&S has invested over £100m in price to strengthen the value of its Food for customers. This includes launching Fresh Market Specials on fresh fruit and vegetables and the launch of its Remarksable value range of everyday staples.

For colleagues, as well as 20% off its food, M&S will provide affordable meal planning advice designed by its in-house nutritionist, to help them make nutritious healthy choices on a budget.

CEO Stuart Machin remarked, “Whether you’re running a home or running a business, everyone?across the country?is feeling the pressure of rising costs.

'We want to do what we can to help ease some of that strain; that's why we have invested in price to deliver better value for our customers and, why we are investing in our colleague base pay for the second time this year.

'Our colleagues are our biggest asset, and?we want to ensure they are fully supported and rewarded for the remarkable contribution they make to M&S.”

Graham Bennett, Chair National Business Involvement Group, noted, “Cost of living is the most talked about issue amongst our colleagues and we very much welcome the package of support from M&S.

'We are pleased our leadership team has listened to colleagues and responded, and we will continue to work closely with them as we head into what is the busiest time of year for retail.”