Long-service awards offered by two-thirds of employers

Tim Rooke/REX
Tim Rooke/REX

As the Queen overtakes Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch, XpertHR research shows that just under two-thirds (63%) of companies offer long-service awards, although none of the policies analysed stretched to 63 years and seven months.

Long-service rewards vary widely from employer to employer, with differences not only in the length of service required to qualify, but also in the frequency and nature of what is offered.

Some of the most notable awards offered by responding employers included: a £3,000 bonus (50 years’ service); £1,250 gift vouchers or 13 days’ leave (45 years); a party and a ruby-encrusted pen (30 years); £500 and a visit to the House of Lords (40 years); and a bonus of 150% of the employee’s monthly salary (30 years).

More measly awards included the archetypal clock (25 years); a certificate (25 years); some goblets and afternoon tea (25 years); and “a plaque, flowers or a bottle” (20 years).

A quarter (26%) of organisations providing reward for long-serving employees have just one award, while 31% allocate five or more awards if the employee stays long enough at the organisation.

By far the most common method of rewarding staff for longevity of service is through a monetary reward, in the form of cash or vouchers. In some instances, this is calculated as a percentage of salary.

Alternatively, some employers offered certificates, various gifts (from pens and watches/clocks to company-branded products), as well as champagne, wine, meals and additional holiday entitlements (either as a one-off, or from that year onwards).

Sheila Attwood, pay and benefits editor at XpertHR said: “Long-service awards vary from small tokens of appreciation to significant enhancements to the employee’s pay and benefits package, or a combination of both.”

Some employers’ long service awards are clearly designed to be tax efficient but many are not. HM Revenue and Customs’ advice says that you not have to report or pay tax on a non-cash long-service award to an employee if:

  • they have worked for you for at least 20 years;
  • the award is worth less than £50 per year of service, and
  • you have not given them a long-service award in the past 10 years.
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