Marks & Spencer is increasing staff pay for the second time this year and providing 4,500 employees with a £250 shopping voucher as part of a £15m package to help with the rising cost of living.
The clothing, homewares and food retailer is also offering free food to workers in its warehouses in addition to that already provided to store staff, and both groups will have access to free sanitary products.
Workers will also be able to attend financial planning workshops and receive advice on meal planning, as well as continuing to receive a 20% discount on M&S purchases.
The company said more than 40,000 staff would see hourly pay rise by 2% to a minimum of £10.20 an hour from October 1 – up from the £10 hourly rate introduced in April – as part of its first autumn salary revisions.
The deal will give a full-time customer assistant an extra £100 a month compared to October last year when workers earned a minimum of £9.50 an hour. The latest agreement contributes to annual growth of 7.4%.
Stuart Machin, chief executive of M&S, said: “Whether you run a home or a business, everyone across the country is feeling the pressure of rising costs. We want to do what we can to relieve some of that pressure.”
The payout is the latest effort by companies to help workers cope with rising inflation on household bills and essentials, from travel to food.
John Lewis will offer free food to all its workers, including temporary staff, during its peak Christmas trading period, as well as a one-off maintenance payment of £500 for full-time workers, prorated for part-time workers.
In July, Aldi said it was setting the hourly rate for the second time in a year with a 40p rise to a minimum of £10.50 outside the M25 and £11.95 in London, a rise of at least 3.5%.
Tesco and sandwich chain Pret a Manger have both increased pay for workers twice in the past year, while Asda raised pay to £10.10 an hour in July after unions criticized it for lagging behind rival chains, with a rate of 9.66 pounds which was introduced in April.