Following the national living wage, John Lewis is cutting employee benefits

minimum wage

For the first time in its 152 year history, John Lewis is putting new recruits on probation. New starters at John Lewis and Waitrose will await a three-month trial before they are able to qualify as a ‘partner’. Those who fail the probationary period are either given an extension of a month or are sacked.

This change has come following the introduction of the National living Wage. John Lewis, who are famous for their employee perks, are believed to be testing new recruits on “their commitment to the partnership and their levels of productivity and engagement.”   

Commenting on the new plan, chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield explained that staff must work harder in order to justify the higher wage. According to The Independent, he said: “You can only afford to pay someone more if the value of their contribution is better. What was OK at £7.20 an hour is not okay at £9.20 an hour.

“Just saying ‘you have to work 25 per cent harder’ is not the answer either, we have to think about how we improve the opportunities the partners have to make money [for the partnership].'

However the new tougher approach will still allow staff to be eligible to share the group’s annual bonus as long as they are employed by January 31 of any year. Yet this change has still left MPs infuriated. Labour MP Joan Ryan has urged the chancellor to take action against firms that are stripping perks. In This is MONEY, she said: “'This is very worrying and completely unacceptable. I fear it is just the thin end of the wedge - we've already seen a number of firms cutting perks after the introduction of the living wage.

“John Lewis and Waitrose have always enjoyed a high degree of confidence among the public because of the way they treat staff. This move will not reflect well on them.”