PwC: Bonus free time worth more than cash in hand

22 May 2015 2 min. read

Most UK employees would prefer time for themselves over other work place benefits worth up to £500, a recent survey from PwC finds. While many in the UK would put a £500 bonus towards retirement or extra time off work, nearly 60% in the retail sector would opt for the money.

What would you do with a one off £500 bonus? Professional services firm PwC recently put this question to 2,423 working adults in the UK. The findings may be surprising, in so far as only a small fifth of respondents indicated interest in taking the bonus away as pay – with a strong preference shown by employees for tax efficient savings. Others chose to invest the extra money in five days’ free time, while a quarter would put the money toward their retirement.

The survey finds that of the employees surveyed, just over a third would take extra annual leave over other work place benefits – this number rising to near 50% for those between 18 and 20. The number also varied by sector, with nearly two thirds in professional services opting for extra time off vs. the nearly 60% in retail that would opt for the £500 in extra pay.

PwC - Bonus free time

Increased benefits
A clear majority (at two thirds) of the survey respondents indicate to rather keep their pay conditions than give up 5% of their pay for increased benefits. The consulting firm noting that while UK employees are the most keen on saving plans, few people would (or potentially could) give up their current salary for other benefits – suggesting that ‘they have little room for manoeuvre within their existing reward packages.

Commenting on the results, John Harding, Pay, Performance and Risk partner at PwC, says: “Despite record low inflation, many people are still feeling the squeeze and they value benefits that will save them money. Employers need to understand their people and their diversity to design a reward programme that takes account of individual preference. What is interesting is that employees are more likely to sacrifice discretionary pay such as a bonus for additional benefits and that funding additional holiday from work ranks as one of the most popular ways of using such a windfall.”

Christmas away
When it comes to spending time with their families over Christmas however, a recent survey from PwC found that those surveyed would prefer extra pay of £250 (57%) over spending time with their families.