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Staff choose a pay rise over extra holiday

Business advisers PwC asked 2,400 UK adults what bonus they would value the most this Christmas.

Of the 339 people surveyed in the South East, £250 extra pay was the most popular option for workers (56%), with only 13% people picking two extra days of annual leave.

Across the UK, people working in financial services and professional services were the most likely to choose an extra two day’s annual leave over extra pay – perhaps reflecting the long hours in those sectors.

Extra pay was the overwhelming option for all generations of workers, despite the fact that many of the other bonuses on offer are tax free. For example, only 12% in the South East would choose a voucher of the same value for their favourite store (but tax free).

Only 4% of people opted for a £1,000 bar tab for them and their immediate team (of approximately 10 people), 4% would choose a tablet computer, 3% opted for a Christmas hamper worth £250.

Only 3% of people would donate the money to charity and 2% would choose a free dinner and drinks for them and three others.

David Wignall (pictured), partner and leader of the human resource services team for PwC in Milton Keynes and the South Midlands, said: “Our research highlights that cash is still king this Christmas as employees in the region overwhelmingly place a higher value on a small amount of extra pay above all other benefits – even extra time off with their families this Christmas.

“Despite the recent signs of a pick-up in wage growth, many people are still feeling the squeeze this Christmas so it isn’t surprising that people are hoping for an extra cash bonus in their stocking this year.

“The fact that people opted for extra pay, which will ultimately be taxed, rather than a voucher of the same value but tax free shows that people value certainty and control most when it comes to workplace benefits.

“Employers should consider what it is that their workers will really value. More targeted employee benefits could actually end up saving many companies millions of pounds a year on benefits that their people do not value.”