Which companies are making cost of living payments

This page is updated daily. Last update 18 November 2022

List of 31 businesses making £242 million cost of living payments to 248,000 employees

In the tables below, we have listed and summarised a full list of 31 businesses and employers making one-off payments to employees to help with the cost of living crisis.

The list covers £242 million worth of payments made to over 248,000 UK employees. While it does not cover every company, it is the most comprehensive and up-to-date list available.

Average employer cost of living payment

Typical cost of living payments made by employers are in the £1,000 to £1,200 range. These represent over 60% of the payments made. However, payments range from a measly £200 to a positively generous £5,000.

Biggest cost of living payment (per employee)

Shell made average bonus payments of $6,000 (£5,000) to 5,000 UK employees for their “contribution … to Shell’s strong operational performance”.

Other notable payments are;

  • Cummins, the power technology / engineering firm – £2,300
  • Rolls Royce, the aerospace and defence engineering firm – £2,000
  • Moneysupermarket – the financial services price comparison site – £2,000

Largest cost of living payment (by company)

The largest overall payment, at £64 million, was by Lloyds Bank. This is due to the fact that it has a LOT of employees, and it made its £1,000 cost of living payment to virtually all of them

In contrast, HSBC, which has some 40,000 employees in the UK, only made a payment to less than half of those, and so kept its payment to a relatively miserly £27 million

Smallest cost of living payment (by company)

Serco made a £9m one-off payment to all “colleagues outside management grades”. But because this was spread across 45,000 staff, each employee received only £200. Still, credit where credit is due. It is better than the 95% of companies that have no payments at all.

Companies making cost of living payments

With households struggling to make ends meet in the largest cost of living squeeze in a generation, companies are stepping in to make up some of the shortfall in household budgets.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), approximately 5% of businesses with 250 or more employees offered a one-off cost of living payment to their employees in the three months to end June 2022. This compares with only 1% for businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

How much are these cost of living payments? Who is making them? When will they be paid? And what difference will they make?

To answer these questions, we have compiled a full list of all the companies who have announced cost of living payments. If your company has, or is making a payment, but is not on the list, please let us know by adding a note in the comments at the bottom of the article.

To put these cost of living payments into context, we first need to step back and look at the bigger picture. 

Inflation and the Cost of Living Crisis

With inflation at its highest level in over 40 years and predicted, by the Bank of England, to peak at 13.3% in October 2022, households across the UK are feeling the biggest cost of living squeeze in a generation.

Note. Following the announcement of the Energy Price Guarantee, the Bank of England has downgraded its expectation of peak inflation for October 2022 from 13.3% to 11%. We will update this formally when the next quarterly Monetary Policy Report is published in November 2022.

The largest component of this inflationary squeeze is energy prices. Not only do they impact directly on the energy bills of households, but they also feed into the input costs of businesses.  This in turn manifests itself in rising prices for both manufactured goods and services.

The average energy bill increased by 54% (£693) to £1,971 on 1 April 2022. It increased by a further 27% (£529) on 1 October 2022. Now that the Energy Price Guarantee will run out on 31 March 2023, average energy bills will likely see another big jump to keep rising to £4,000, or even £5,000 on 1 April 2023. That is more than 4-5 times the level that energy prices were at in 2020.

The outlook for the next 12 months looks pretty dire. What can be done about it and by whom?

Balancing the household budget in a cost of living crisis

How will consumers be able to make up for the shortfall in their household budgets from the highest inflation in 40 years and particularly from sharply higher energy bills?

While almost all recent attention has been focussed on what government needs to do to tackle the problem, government is, fortunately, by no means the only solution to the problem.

Balancing a tight budget requires either more income, lower expenses, or a combination of the two. Fortunately, there are several possible ways in which the gap can be bridged.

These include;

  • Higher wages
  • Reducing your outgoings and cutting back on energy usage specifically
  • Using savings
  • Getting government support
  • Employers helping staff with cost of living payments

While this article focusses primarily on the last of these, we will briefly address each in turn.

1. Higher wages

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that average total pay, including bonuses, grew by 6.0% between June and August 2022 while regular pay excluding bonuses grew by 5.4%. Adjusted for inflation (which reached a 40-year high of 9.9% in August 2022), total pay fell 2.4% and regular pay fell by 2.9%. Note; the ONS uses average inflation over the reporting period rather than over a single month. Hence the reason for the difference between the CPI figure quoted and the real wages figures.

Note: UK CPI inflation again hit 10.1% for September 2022 (RPI hit 12.6%). We will need to wait for publication of the September 2022 pay to see how much further total pay is lagging inflation.

While wage growth is currently lagging behind inflation, some sectors of the economy are doing better than others. Indeed, some workers are doing rather well. For example, think striking tube drivers whose 4-year RPI+ wage deal saw them pocket a pay rise of around £5,000 in April 2022 taking the median salary to mouth-watering….wait for it…. £64k, give or take. And don’t forget their cushy pensions and 43 days a year holiday on top.

The reality for most workers is that, although wage growth would normally be the biggest contributory factor to balancing the household books, for most, it is not keeping up with inflation. And although the labour market is still incredibly tight, with payroll employment at a record high, unemployment the lowest in 40 years, and job vacancies very high, looking for a new job just to pay the energy bill does seem a bit much. But it is an option.

2. Lower Energy Bills

If GCSE Economics text books are remotely correct, then the one thing that higher energy prices will do, is to reduce demand for the product. And with energy prices rising 4-fold over a 2-year period, we would expect household energy demand to fall quite sharply. Possibly by as much as 20%, but certainly by at least 10% compared to last year. That will save households between £450 and £900 based on next year’s forecast £4,000+ energy price cap.

At the level of the economy, this cut in energy usage alone will save consumers between £12 billion and £24 billion.

3. Savings

No-one wants to be dipping into their savings for day-to-day expenses. Savings are typically there for retirement, for a deposit on a home, for special occasions (holidays), and for the occasional rainy day or emergency. In ONS economics jargon, savings are there to increase future resources available for consumption (intertemporal saving) and to protect against unexpected changes in income (precautionary saving aka “saving for a rainy day”). However, the reality is that many of us will have no option other than to dip into that savings buffer. Because, like it or not, those “rainy days” have arrived en-masse.

However, on the savings front, there is a silver lining.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been a surge in household saving. This is mainly down to the fact that, with millions having been locked in their homes and paid NOT to work, it became difficult to spend the £100’s of billions thrown at rescuing the economy from the effects of lockdowns. Money was saved largely because there was nothing to spend it on (forced saving).

To June 2022, the ONS estimated that the total accumulated increase in household saving, relative to the level in Quarter 4 2019, was £195.9 billion.

And that is a huge pile of money.

Excess savings could pay for higher energy bills for over 2 years

It equates to almost 9% of GDP. It could pay the £3,000 excess (above 2020 energy price levels) on a £4,000 energy bill for every household in the country for a period of 2 years and 5 months.

We have no idea who has all that money. We know it is not us. However, some people clearly made out like bandits from Rishi’s billions. We suspect that a lot of the highly paid, work(?) from home, civil servant types at Ofgem will be in that lucky group.

That £195 billion of excess savings will certainly not be evenly distributed across the economy. Many, if not most of us, will not have benefitted at all. However, the sheer scale of the number is such that it cannot be ignored.

4. Government Support

The government has, so far, provided cost of living support of around £24 billion (1.1% of GDP). This has been, quite rightly, primarily targeted at the lowest income and most vulnerable groups. (Note; The government claims £37 billion of support, but that includes national insurance and tax cuts. We consider tax cuts to be ongoing government business as usual as opposed to one-off exceptional support targeted at a specific economic problem. Hence the reason that we do not include it within the cost of living support package).

The government is being, quite rightly, pressurised to do more; much more. We expect that the current cost of living package will get a hefty boost in the not do distant future.

5. Firms helping staff with cost of living payments

And finally, there are the firms making one-off cost of living payments to staff to help ease the cost of living crisis.

According to the ONS Business insights report on the UK economy (11 Aug 2022), approximately 5% of businesses with 250 or more employees offered a one-off cost of living payment to their employees in the three months to end June 2022. In comparison, only 1% for businesses with fewer than 250 employees offered such a payment.

We suspect that firms are not doing this just out of generosity or altruism. According to business surveys, recruiting and retaining staff, even in the current downturn, is one of the biggest issues facing business in what is still a very, very tight labour market. So, it makes sense to keep your existing staff happy, or at least happier, if you can afford to. It also makes sense to do this as one-off payments as these does not increase the recurring cost base of the business. These one-off payments should also have less of an impact on entrenching inflation in the economy.

The fact that, proportionately, far more larger companies are making these cost of living payments compared to smaller companies almost certainly reflects the greater pricing power of larger businesses (their ability to pass on the extra costs through price increases to consumers).

How many companies have made cost of living bonus payments

ONS data shows that there are approximately 10,000 companies in the UK with greater than 250 employees. They collectively employ a total of 16.5 million workers (approximately 55% of the UK workforce). A further 2.7 million smaller firms employ the remaining 13 million people in the workforce.

This implies that 500 larger firm and 27,000 smaller firms have made these payments.

Assuming that these employer cost of living payments are randomly distributed across firm size, then we can infer that approximately 825,000 employees at larger companies, and 130,000 employees at smaller companies have received these payments. Based on an average cost of living payment of £1,000, that equates to a cost of living bonus of £955m (approximately £1 billion rounded).

This is small change compared to the other budget balancing measures outlined above. But, as one catchy retail marketing slogan goes, “every little helps”.

List of employers making cost of living payments

The data in the tables below is drawn from public announcements by companies, unions, and trade associations and from newswires. We have aimed to make it comprehensive in terms of the coverage of the larger firms. Some smaller firms are also included, but it would not be possible, or practical, to list all 27,000 smaller firms even if we knew who they were.

What counts as a cost of living payment?

For incluion in the list we have looked for payments that are one-off in nature. This could be any of the following….

  • One-off exceptional payments
  • One-off non-regular bonuses
  • Exceptional bonuses

…paid to employees in the UK

What is not included?

We have excluded the following;

  • Pay increases, that increase the overall wage bill
  • Regular bonuses
  • Golden hello’s paid to new recruits only
  • Any cost of living payment made to employees outside the UK

However, to do justice to employers who have made multiple pay rise rounds, we have listed them separately below the respective table summarising the payment made.

Examples of cost of living bonus payments

So, for example, Morrisons’ decision to increase salaries twice in one year, while probably motivated by the cost of living crisis, does not qualify, since it is a permanent increase in the wage bill. Similarly, Barclays decision to bring forward a pay increase from March 2023 to August 2022 is also a pay rise, and not a bonus or salary supplement.

Regular bonuses, which form a regular variable part of total compensation in certain sectors, particularly in financial services, are also excluded. They are part of the ongoing compensation of the employee.

However, one-off bonuses that are not part of regular compensation are included. For example, Shell’s decision to hand out a $500m bonus to 82,000 employees globally was a one-off due to exceptional business performance. While it wasn’t described as a cost of living payment, a one-off bonus payment during a cost of living crisis is pretty much exactly that.

Golden hello’s (a bonus paid to an employee to incentivise them to join a company) do not qualify. They are part of the cost of hiring staff in a tight labour market. Therefore, British Airways £1,000 “golden hello” bonus doesn’t make the list. However, because EasyJet is paying a £1,000 bonus to both new and existing cabin crew, that payment counts.

Finally, as we are specifically interested in the impact of these bonus payments on the UK cost of living crisis, only payments made to UK employees are considered. Payments made to a global or international workforce are averaged and apportioned to the estimated UK workforce receiving that payment.

Limitations of the Data

Confused?

We accept that our approach is by no means perfect. In our defence, the lines between what counts as salary, bonus, and one-off payments are all very blurred. So, perfection was never going to be possible. Nevertheless, it will (hopefully) give you a picture of who is paying what, to whom, and when.

If your firm or employer has made a cost of living payment, but is not on the list, please let us know via the comments at the bottom of this article. Provided that we can verify the payment, we will include it. Conversely, if any of the data listed is incorrect, please also let us know.

List of firms making cost of living payments (A – D)

CompanyCost of living paymentEmployees benefiting
Total cost of paymentPayment Date
Aviva£300 - £1,000Not diclosedNot diclosedOct 2022
Employees earning less than £35,000 to receive payments ranging from £300 to £1,000
Barratt Developments£1,0006,000£6 millionPaid over six months from Jul 2022 to Dec 2022
Temporary salary supplement to all employees below senior management level
Bird and Bird£1,000300+£0.3 millionJul 2022
Paid to over 300 employees earning less than £50,000 a year. £1,000 payment is after tax and NI.
Bloomsbury£1,600700£1.1 millionNot disclosed
All 1,000 staff qualify o/w 700 are in the UK. Value of bonus award is calculated at 6% on an assumed base salary of £30,000
Cartwright Group£1,00043£0.04 millionNot disclosed
We assume all 43 employees got the payment
Caterpillar£1,3001,500£2 millionNot disclosed
A one-off lump sum of 2.6% on an estimated average salary of £50,000
Clifford Chance£1,500200£0.3 millionNot disclosed
A lump sum of £1,500 paid to trainees and business services professionals in London. Chambers student estimates the firm has 200 trainees in London.
Co-operative Bank£300Not disclosedNot disclosedNot disclosed
For employees earning less than £30,000
Cummins£2,3002,730£6.3 millionAug 2022
The payment was negotiated by Unite and covers workers at the company’s factories in Darlington, Daventry, Huddersfield, Stamford and Wellingborough.
Sources:
energyscanner.com; Unite, company websites, various news feeds

Barclays

More than 35,000 staff at Barclays received a £1,200 pay rise on 1 August 2022 to help with the cost-of-living crisis. The salary increase was targeted towards lower paid employees and saw average salaries increase by between 4.7% and 5.5% depending upon grade. The increase brought forward part of a pay review scheduled for March 2023. All other staff will see their annual pay review take effect in March 2023 in the normal way.

Companies making cost of living payments (E – H)

CompanyCost of living paymentEmployees benefiting
Total cost of paymentPayment Date
easyjet£1,0007,000£6 millionOct 2022
New and existing cabin crew will receive a £1,000 bonus at the end of Oct 2022 for their efforts during this summer's travel boom.
According to Companies House the vast majority (if not all) flight and ground crew are employed by UK registered easyJet Airline Company Limited. Hence we assume all 7,000 cabin crew receive the payment.
Heinz£1,200700£0.8 millionAug 22 and Jan 23
Initial £500 paid in Aug 2022. The second £700 payment will be made in Jan 2023 subject to attendance. We are guessing that maybe Hienz is experiencing a staff absence problem and only wants to reward those that actually turn up to work.
HSBC£1,50018,000£27 millionJul 2022
To the lowest paid workers. Unite are taking the credit for this one.
Sources:
energyscanner.com; Unite, company websites, various news feeds

List of firms making cost of living payments (I – M)

CompanyCost of living paymentEmployees benefiting
Total cost of paymentPayment Date
Irwin Mitchell LLP£9002,500£2.25 millionApr 2022
Paid to all UK staff below partner level. We assume this be around 2,500 employees.
King Charles III£300 - £600350£0.2 millionNov 2022
According to the Sun newspaper, staff working for King Charles III will receive a one-off payment of between £600 and £350 depending upon their salary. Those earning less than £30,000 will get £600. Those earning between £30,000 and £40,000 will get £400. While those earning between £40,000 and £45,000 will get £350. There are apparently 491 full time staff employed at the palalces. We have assumed that just over 70% (350) receive an average payment of £475. But this is pure guesswork on our part.
Lloyds Bank£1,00064,182£64 millionAug 2022
The payment was made to staff in grades A – G. That covers 64,182 employees, or around 99.5% of the firm's work force.
Moneysupermarket.com Group£2,000375£0.75 millionSep 2022
Announced with the companies interim results, the payment will cover all employees earning less than £55,000 a year (almost half its workforce). We assume this to be 375 of their 780 employees. On a different note, if you are looking for a tech job, worth noting that more than half of Moneysupermarket employees earn over £55k. Nice!
Sources:
energyscanner.com; Unite, company websites, various news feeds

M&S

M&S has increased pay rates twice in 2022.

From 1 October 2022, more than 40,000 workers will see their minimum pay rise from £10.00 / hour to £10.20. It will increase the company’s annual wage bill by £15 million. This follows on from the first pay review which saw hourly rates increase from £9.50 to £10.00 in April 2022.

The two pay reviews combined means that eligible employees have seem minimum rates of pay increase by 7.4% in 2022. Still below the rate of CPI inflation.

M&S has also rolled out additional smaller benefits. 4,500 salaried staff on pre-management levels are getting a one-off £250 M&S voucher, staff at its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington will get a free meal per shift and employees across all stores and sites qualify for free sanitary products.

List of companies making cost of living payments (N – R)

CompanyCost of living paymentEmployees benefiting
Total cost of paymentPayment Date
Nationwide Building Society£1,20011,000£13 millionNot disclosed
The payment was made to 61% of Nationwide’s 18,000 workforce; those earning less than £35,000 a year.
Oxford University£1,00014,572£15 millionJul 2022
The one-off £1,000 bonus paid to all employees was to recognise their "commitment and dedication" through the pandemic. However, to all intents and purposes it meets the one-off cost of living criteria.
For those who are as surprised by the figures as we were...Oxford University does, in fact, employ over 14,000 staff (14,572 on 31 July 2021) making it the largest employer in Oxfordshire. That is a staff : student ratio of 4:7. That is some personalised education right there. Enough said.
Rolls Royce£2,00014,000£28 millionAug 2022
The payment, for junior management and shop floor staff, covers approximately 70% of the company's UK workforce.
Sources:
energyscanner.com; Unite, company websites, various news feeds

NatWest Group

NatWest announced a permanent increase in base pay, averaging £1,000, for more than 22,000 staff members globally. In the UK, employees earning a full-time equivalent salary of £32,000 or less will receive a 4% salary increase. This will affect 17,300 employees in the UK. Although this pay increase was widely reported as a cost of living payment, it is in fact a permanent pay rise and so is not included in the table of one-off payments.

List of firms making cost of living payments (S – V)

CompanyCost of living paymentEmployees benefiting
Total cost of paymentPayment Date
Serco£20045,000£9 millionAug 2022
Due to the recent surge in inflation, the company said it will be distribute an additional £9m in in one-off payments to all "colleagues outside management grades". Based on a reported 45,000 staff who will get the payment, this works out at £200 each.
Shell£5,0005,000£25 millionNot disclosed
Globally 82,000 employees will share a bonus pot of $500m which averages $6,000 per employee. Approximately, 5,000 staff will get it in the UK.
According to Shell...“In recognition of the contribution our people have made to Shell’s strong operational performance against a recent challenging backdrop, our executive committee has decided to make a special recognition award of 8% of salary to all eligible staff across the world".
Rolls Royce£2,00014,000£28 millionAug 2022
The payment, for junior management and shop floor staff, covers approximately 70% of the company's UK workforce.
Taylor Wimpey£1,0005,400£5.4 millionIn 6 monthly payments from Sep 2022
The company is making a cost of living payment of up to £1,000 for employees receiving an annual salary of up to £70,000. This covers 90% of its workforce.
Taylor Wimpey directly employs around 6,000 staff in the UK so this payment affects around 5,400 employees.
TSB£1,0004,500£4.5 millionOct 2022 / Feb 2023
Around 4,500 TSB staff earning up to £35,000 will get a one-off £1,000 pay boost. The payment will be made in 2 £500 installments in Oct 2022 and Feb 2023. It covers around 76% of TSB's workforce.
Virgin Money£1,0006,240£6 millionAug 2022
Employees earning less than £50,000 received a flat one-off £1,000 cost of living payment. This covered approximately 78% of the companiy's 8,000 employees.
Sources:
energyscanner.com; Unite, company websites, various news feeds

Companies making cost of living payments (W – Z)

CompanyCost of living paymentEmployees benefiting
Total cost of paymentPayment Date
West Brom Building Society£1,200430£0.5 million4 monthly installments from Oct 2022 to Jan 2023
Applies to employees earning £35,000 or less per year; around 70% of the workforce. The payment will be made in 4 monthly installments of £300 / month from Oct 2022 to Jan 2023.
Whitbread£30034,000£10 million
The one-off payment of up to £300 applies to all eligible hourly paid Team Members (Whitbread jargon) and its customer contact centre employees at Whitbread’s Dunstable HQ. Overver 34,000 employees, 90% of the UK workforce qualify for the payment. The one-off payment is in addition to the 4% increase in basic pay from Nov 2022. This in turn follows on from earlier pay increases in Oct 2021 and Apr 2022. Collectivly the 3 pay increases have raised base rates of pay by 10% since Oct 2021.
Wilkin Chapman LLP£1,000400£0.4 millionNot disclosed
The one-off payment seems to apply to all employees.
Yorkshire Building Society£1,2003,300£4 millionSep 2022
The payment will be made to all employees excluding directors or chief officers.
Sources:
energyscanner.com; Unite, company websites, various news feeds

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