// M&S launches £15m support package for colleagues amid cost-of-living crisis
// It introduced an additional autumn pay review for the first time and is offering free food items and sanitary products
Marks & Spencer has become the latest retailer to launch a financial support package for colleagues during the cost-of-living crisis.
The retailer set out a £15 million package to support its front-line colleagues as rising cost concerns are at the top of colleagues’ minds.
M&S has introduced an additional autumn pay review for the first time, whilst extending its wellbeing benefits for colleagues.
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From 1 October, over 40,000 colleagues will see their hourly pay increased to a minimum of £10.20 which follows an initial pay increase to £10 from £9.50 in April this year.
This is ahead of both the national and real living wage.
It represents an annual uplift of 7.4% and means a full-time customer assistant will earn over £100 more each month compared to October 2021.
The retailer will also provide its 4500 colleagues at pre-management levels in its stores and support centres with a one-off £250 voucher to spend at M&S.
Base pay for colleagues is supplemented by a 20% M&S discount.
Moreover, M&S is offering free everyday food items and sanitary products.
It is launching a free meal per shift for colleagues at its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington. M&S already provides all-year round free everyday food items and refreshments to store colleagues.
This month, M&S has also introduced free sanitary products to colleagues across all stores and sites.
All M&S colleagues can take part in free financial planning workshops and have access to free online planning tools and information on its wellbeing hub.
Over the last three years, M&S has invested over £100 million in price to strengthen the value of its Food for customers. This includes launching Fresh Market Specials on fresh fruit and vegetables and the launch of its Remarksable value range of everyday staples.
For colleagues, as well as 20% off its food, M&S will provide affordable meal planning advice designed by its in-house nutritionist, to help them make nutritious healthy choices on a budget.
“Whether you’re running a home or running a business, everyone across the country is feeling the pressure of rising costs,” M&S chief executive, Stuart Machin said.
“We want to do what we can to help ease some of that strain; that’s why we have invested in price to deliver better value for our customers and, why we are investing in our colleague base pay for the second time this year.
“Our colleagues are our biggest asset, and we want to ensure they are fully supported and rewarded for the remarkable contribution they make to M&S.”