M&S to raise minimum pay to £10 an hour and offer free health checks

From April, retailer’s workers will be above new legal minimum wage of £9.50 an hour for those 23 and over

Last modified on Wed 16 Feb 2022 06.39 EST

Marks & Spencer is increasing minimum pay by 5% to £10 an hour in April and offering free health checks to workers as labour shortages force up wages across the retail and hospitality industries.

The pay rise puts M&S workers just ahead of the new legal minimum wage of £9.50 an hour for those 23 and over, which comes into force in April, and on a par with supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

The clothing, homewares and food retailer, which experienced a turnaround in fortunes at Christmas, said that from the beginning of April more than 40,000 staff in the UK would see their base rate of pay increase by 50p an hour to £10, with rates in London rising to £11.25 from £10.75.

New benefits will also include access to an online GP service, health check screening and advice on financial management.

Steve Rowe, the chief executive of M&S, said: “The contribution our teams have made to support our customers and each other every day through some really challenging times has been remarkable. By once again increasing our investment into one of the best all-round reward offers for store colleagues across retail, we’re making sure that every colleague, whatever they do and wherever they work, is properly rewarded and supported at M&S.”

M&S’s pay rise is the latest in a wave of increases across retail and hospitality.

In January, Sainsbury’s said it would increase hourly pay by more than 5% to £10 an hour for its lowest-paid shop workers. Aldi increased minimum hourly rates for shop workers to £10.57 an hour from £9.55 nationally this month, a near 11% rise, and £11.32 in Greater London from £11.07.

Next has said it will have to put up the price of its clothing by as much as 6% this autumn as the fashion and homewares retailer expects average wages to rise by more than 5% this year.

Hospitality businesses are also upping wages. Pret a Manger last month raised hourly pay for the second time in four months from a minimum of £9.40 to £9.80, with more than 6,900 of its 8,500 staff earning at least £10 an hour. That came after pay was put up 5% to £9.40 an hour in September.

Workers at the coffee shops chain are also able to earn an additional £1.25 an hour, based on a weekly mystery shopper assessment, up from £1.

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