Back to news

Are you missing out on financial help from work?

John Martin
October 21, 2022

The news this week has been challenging for workers everywhere: the cost of living is up 10.1% with inflation is at a 40 year high.

Many employers are trying to help out their employees with the soaring cost of living, offering anything from one-off bonuses, improved employee discounts to free food.

However, there might be employee benefits that you are entitled to but don’t know about that could help your money go further even if you’re to getting financial help from your employer.

Here’s a look at the different type of help that some employers are offering, and other help that might be available.

Cost of living payments

Many of the biggest employers are giving some of their workers extra payments to help with the rising cost of living.

These include John Lewis, which is giving full-time employees a one off cost of living payment of £500. Virgin Media O2 is giving a series of payments adding up to £1,400 to employee who earn £35,000 and under. 

Banks including HSBC and Nationwide are giving bonuses of £1,500 and £1,200 respectively for their lowest paid members of staff.

Pay rises

Some companies are giving staff a pay rise, rather than a one-off payment. This is not always as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis, in some industries, like hospitality and retails, staff shortages have led to companies competing to keep and recruit workers and pay rises have been a part of this.

Free food and help with bills

Some employers are giving their employees free meals and snacks or have set up hardship funds to help workers who are struggling with their bills.

John Lewis and Waitrose will offer free food over the winter and have doubled their fund set up to help workers with bills.

Sainsbury’s will give workers access to ‘basic food items’ during their shifts.

If you find you are struggling with the cost of your bills, find out if your employer has something like this in place.

Hybrid working and expenses

Many companies are allowing workers to fulfil their roles from a combination of the office and at home. This saves the cost of commuting but does increase the amount of gas and electricity used at home. 

Look into any expenses you might be entitled to, whether that’s a certain amount of fuel costs, food and drink if you are out of the office, and if you can claim back any gas and electric costs of you are working from home.


The company you work for might offer employee discounts as part of your employee benefits package. This could be anything from discounts at your local gym to money off at local retailers or restaurants.

Tesco, Asda and Iceland have all increased the amount of money their employees can get off their shopping.

Make sure you know what discounts you have access to and that you are making the most of them.

Annual leave sell-back option

Some companies let employees buy or sell days of annual leave. If you don’t think you’ll need all of your leave, check if your company will let you sell it back to them so you’ll get money for them instead.

Debt support

There is a wide range of support on offer from different employers, whether that is financial education about debt management which might give information on how to manage and pay off debt and the help that is available, or loan consolidation via payroll if you need help paying off your debts.

Ask your HR department what help is available. If your company doesn’t have anything specific set up, they should be able to point you in direction of external help.

Salary sacrifice

Your company may offer a salary sacrifice scheme which means you receive less pay but instead the money is taken from your gross income and goes towards childcare vouchers, a car or a bike, if they’re running a cycle to work scheme. This can help you spread the cost of larger items and in many cases you won’t pay income tax on the part of your salary that you’re sacrificing.