United Utilities staff trade pay for further benefits

Utilities has launched a company-wide flexible benefits scheme that allows
staff to trade off their salaries against other work perks.

water and telecoms giant is rolling out the new scheme to its 4,000 staff in
support of a culture change programme.

year, the company re-branded as United Utilities, following the merger of North
West Water and Norweb in 1996.

manager Heather Lee explained that employees can choose extra benefits online –
for a lowering of their salary – including more holidays, medical insurance or
childcare vouchers.

said the scheme was a good motivation tool and would promote the
decision-making skills of employees.

HR team pushed for all employees having access to the scheme when it was
launched last month, but this involved training staff who had never used a
computer before to use the online system.

who do not normally have access to a computer will be able to use dedicated
kiosks placed in work areas. Staff were given two weeks to enrol, and there has
been a 20 per cent take up for this year’s scheme.

programme will run for a year, and then the list of products and services will
be reviewed. Staff who choose to take all the holiday benefits can ‘buy’ up to
33 days’ holiday.

most popular choices were extra holidays and a PC leasing scheme for home
computers: “We had designed the scheme in partnership with employees so we knew
it was going to be popular. It enables employees to choose for themselves what
suits them best,” said Lee.

Lee said United Utilities has also introduced a paperless
system for employees to claim overtime, expenses and book time off.

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