As inflation soars, many construction companies and housebuilders are looking at how they can support their staff with extra pay, support or other benefits. Here is a guide to what individual firms are doing

We are, it hardly needs to be said, living through the most turbulent times that most of us can remember.

If the covid-19 pandemic had not caused enough widespread fear, disruption and trauma, we are now in the grips of another foe, which, while not as immediately deadly, nevertheless has the capacity to cause untold misery: rampant inflation.

First we saw supply chain shortages as the economy came racing out of the pandemic-indued slowdown and firms struggled to keep up with demand. Then, Vladmir Putin’s war in Ukraine disrupted energy supplies and sent prices rocketing ever further northwards.

cost of living

Source: Shutterstock

Heating, food and travel costs are all up, putting a squeeze on household budgets. A number of firms in the sector have made one-off payments to help staff get through the coming months

The government has responded by announcing multiple support packages, capping energy price rises and more recently providing additional help to lower income households, while the Bank of England (BoE) has repeatedly upped its base rate to curb costs.

Despite this, the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation hit 11.1% in October and, while the BoE is expecting inflation to fall sharply next year, this winter is likely to prove difficult for millions of workers.

In response many firms are looking at ways of helping their employees to cope. According to a study by professional services giant PwC, four in five larger employers are taking action or considering ways to help employees in the face of rising costs.

But what are businesses in the construction and housing sectors doing to help their staff?

By looking at public statements from construction firms, as well as surveying the largest 35 housebuilders and the 50 largest housing associations, we have compiled an at-a-glance guide to who is doing what.

So how are firms helping people? How do you ensure any payments or support are fair? What is a reasonable package of support?

One-off cost-of-living payments

Perhaps the most straightforward way to help employees is simply to make a one-off cost of living payment to all staff, or all of those below a certain threshold of salary or seniority.

Purely in terms of total amount paid in one-off payments, Barratt, perhaps unsurprisingly given its £5bn-turnover, leads the way among those to confirm figures to Building.

The housebuilder has awarded two payments of £1,000 to its 6,800 employees who are not senior management, thereby costing the firm around £13m.

FirmCompany typeAmount of paymentNumber of staffPaid to whom?Amount spendingNotes
Allies & Morrison Architects £1,000 Up to 300* Permanent employed for more than two months Up to £300,000 300 employees according to accounts
Anchor Housing association care specialist £500   All staff    
Aster Housing association Undisclosed 1,900 All staff bar executive directors Not disclosed  
A2 Dominion Housing association £250 380 Staff earning under £30,000 £95,000 Payment made in November. Will review again in January.
Bam Contractor £750 Majority of 6,000   Up to £4.5m  
Barratt Housebuilder £2,000 6,800 All staff below senior management £13m approx Made up of two payments covering July-Sept and Jan-June
Cala Homes Housebuilder £1,500 Around 1,100 All staff below regional director. 90% of team. Cala had 1,259 employees as of 31 December 2021 £1.6m* Payment in September. Approx
Clarion Housing association Undisclosed Around 3,600 staff All staff below director level All staff below director level Not disclosed Payment in October
Galliford Try Contractor £750 1,800 Lower earners £1.35m  
Glencar Contractor £1,000 300 All payrolled staff £300,000  
Keepmoat Housebuilder £1,000   All employees earning less than £50,000    
Keltbray Contractor £1,000 More than 1,100 staff Those earning less than £50,000 £1.1m Scaled pay rise in November
Notting Hill Genesis Housing association £1,000 full bonus Not disclosed Eligible staff    
Places for People Housing association £500   Payment from colleague hardship fund for those affected by cost-of-living crisis and other serious financial difficulties
Poplar Harca Housing association £1,500 Around 331 All staff Around £500,000 Made in three instalments of £500
Sisk Contractor £1,000 1,500 All staff £1.3m 620 staff in the UK will be given £900 while the 830 working in Ireland will be handed €1,000.
Skanska Contractor £750 1,300 approx   Nearly £1m  
Sovereign Housing association £300 2,000 approx All staff £600,000  
Taylor Wimpey Housebuilder £1,000 Around 4,700 Those earning less than £70,000    

Tell us what your firm is doing to support its staff through the cost-of-living crisis


Cala Homes, a housebuilding company owned by institutional investment giant L&G, has made a £1,500 payment to around 1,100 staff at a cost to the business of around £1.6m. Cala restricted the bonus to those below regional director level, around 90% of its workforce.

While some firms have limited the payment based on seniority, others have chosen a salary threshold. Taylor Wimpey for instance has provided a £1,000 payment to around 4,800 staff earning below £70,000 a year at an approximate total cost of around £4.9m.

Contractor Keltbray and housebuilder Keepmoat set a salary limit of £50,000 while housing association A2 Dominion plumped for a £30,000 threshold, although its payment of £250 was lower than other firms.

Some businesses made a payment to all members of staff, including Wembley Park contractor Sisk, and housing associations Sovereign and Poplar Harca.

Other type of payments

Along with pay rises, housing association giant Places for People, which has a turnover of £850m, has set up a colleague hardship fund through which “employees affected by the cost-of-living crisis and other serious financial difficulties” can apply for £500 payments. Notting Hill Genesis has expanded its annual bonus scheme to “all eligible staff”, meaning they get a £1,000 bonus this year although it its not clear what the criteria are.

Pay rises

One-off payments are all well and good but many staff would doubtless be happier with an increase in salary and some firms have used the crisis as an opportunity to review pay.

Places for People, Riverside and Anchor have all increased their minimum pay to the Living Wage Foundation’s real living wage, which is calculated based on living cost and at £10.90 an hour (£11.95 in London) is higher than both the minimum wage and living wage (£9.18 and £9.50 an hour respectively).

A spokesperson for £526m-turnover care and support housing specialist Anchor said: “We know the cost-of-living crisis is very real and were the first large national care and housing provider to commit to being a Living Wage Foundation employer and we cemented that commitment on Monday, 14 November by becoming an accredited real living wage employer.”

>> See also: Latest trends and prices data dashboard

Contractor Keltbray meanwhile has recently increased pay for its staff on a sliding scale, with those on lower salaries given bigger percentage pay rises up to a maximum of 5%.

Other types of support

  • Financial advice: Several firms have told us they are providing assistance schemes to help staff in these difficult times. Galliford Try is providing financial advice, as is A2 Dominion, which is helping colleagues with budgeting. Orbit has recently a created a “cost-of-living advice hub” to provide access to financial webinars run with pensions provider Aviva.
  • Medical support: In January Barratt extended private medical insurance cover to all of its employees and also launched a new discounted dental plan. Aster’s assistance programme gives employees access to qualified therapists and money back on healthcare, along with an app providing access to mental health and wellbeing support.
  • Vouchers/discounts: Some firms, including A2 Dominion and Notting Hill Genesis, offer vouchers or discounts to allow staff to access benefits for free or for a lower cost. Aster has set up an employee discounts site providing savings at supermarkets and on household utility bills. 
  • Loans: Skanska has teamed with financial wellbeing provider Salary Finance to offer loans with a low fixed interest rate to it staff.