With many of our employee owners paid by reference to the national living wage, it is important that we support them through these turbulent economic times. So, what has WCF Ltd been doing to support the financial and mental well-being of its key stakeholders who also own the company in which they work?
On 1st June we decided
to pay our lowest paid employee owners with reference to the Real Living Wage
rather than the National Minimum Wage. This means that as at 1st
November there will a £1.40 an hour differential for these colleagues to the
lowest legal rate of payment. We will implement the 2022 increase to £10.90, announced
on 22nd September, from 1st November rather than taking
advantage of the 6-month waiting period. In January 2022 we brought forward the
minimum wage increase due to our lowest paid employees by 3 months. We pay all
our colleagues (excluding apprentices) the same minimum wage regardless of age.
In direct and prompt response to rising energy bills we paid all our colleagues, regardless of role, a flat rate £750 bonus (per full time employee; proportionately less for part time employees) in April in response to the cost-of-living crisis. Comments received from employee owners included:
“Wonderful surprise, thank you for caring”
“I’ve said it before, and I will say it again… WCF is the company that just keeps on giving”
“What a kind and thoughtful gesture”
“Thank you very much, massively appreciated”
“Thank you WCF. Another show of caring and appreciation for your great teams. I have never been prouder to be a small part of such a great company”
“Thank you for looking after all at WCF”
“Awesome gesture, thanks for the support WCF”
“This shows what WCF is about, it’s people. A huge thank you to the Board”
“Above and beyond again, thank you very much”
Directly linked to our 21/22
financial performance and our profit share commitment, our eligible full-time
employees will receive a gross payment of not less than £1,000 in November
(proportionately less for part time employees and those that started with us
between 1st June 2021 and 31st May 2022). This is paid at
the end of November so that employees are able to use the payment in time for
Christmas. Employee owners will also benefit from a 73p a share dividend on all
shares owned directly or in trust on their behalf at the end of November.
Introduced during the pandemic,
and extended due to the current situation, all our employees are eligible to
apply for an interest-free loan to our financial well-bring program, there to
support them in times of emergency. We then negotiate a fair and affordable
repayment program with them to ensure that they do not continue to be
financially disadvantaged but adopt a responsible approach to ensure that they
do not borrow more than they can truly afford. Repayment terms depend on the
amount borrowed, the number of WCF share held directly or in trust on behalf of
that employee, and length of service.
Re-launched in October, our employees can now benefit from even more discounts or cashback at leading supermarkets and hundreds of high street retailers which should put additional cash in their pockets when they need it most. There is also access to lots of well-being tips, including financial budgeting tools, meditation, workouts and nutritional advice.
Our paid recognition and
improvement schemes such as ‘Above & Beyond’ and ‘People Like Us’ referral
schemes offer our colleagues the opportunity to top up their basic pay with
Our EAP offers our employee
owners 24/7 access to confidential well-being advice and support, including counselling,
financial and legal advice. We can also provide specialist one-to-one
counselling, paid for by the company, for those in need of more urgent
We have introduced additional funded uniforms around the business for those not in customer facing roles so that those people can benefit from reduced costs of coming to work as well as those people required to wear a uniform as part of their role.
We offer a wide range of colleague
discounts across the group so that our employee owners can benefit from reduced
price clothing, pet care, horticultural/amenity products and stays in one of
our three campsites, as well as competitive prices on home heating oil. We have
recently removed the 6-month waiting period for such discounts to be enacted to
ensure that everyone can benefit from Day 1 of their employment.
Using our employee engagement app we share tips on how to save money and conserve energy.
We operate a variety of flexible
and hybrid working models for all colleagues being especially considerate of
those who may have additional childcare or caring responsibilities.
As a progressive employer, owned
by its employees, we are always looking for way to improve our benefits and
support for our employee owners so if you can think of something that we
haven’t then please don’t hesitate to let us know by commenting below. We’ll be
undertaking check-in surveys through Hive on a regular basis to understand how
your personal circumstances are evolving. These surveys are confidential but
what you tell us can directly help us shape our program of future benefits.