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Our People

Wetherspoon has been recognised by the Top Employers Institute as a ‘Top Employer United Kingdom’ for 17 consecutive years, including 2020.

Total headcount

As at the end of our financial year 2020/21, over 39,000 people were employed in pubs and hotels, in regional roles and at head office (Watford, Hertfordshire).

In the Republic of Ireland, over 500 people were employed.

The company does not employ anyone below either 16 years of age or the recognised school-leaving age.

Of our staff, 59% are aged 25 years or under; therefore, for many, this is their first experience of working. Numerous people join the company from the ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEET) population and can start with limited basic skills and confidence.

Many of our employees have chosen to spend their career with us and progressed through the company.

The average length of service for a pub manager is 13.6 years and a kitchen manager 9.6 years, while 22% of hourly paid employees have been with us for over three years.

All staff are directly employed by the company, with the exception of a small number of head-office contractors, involved in specific project work.

Of hourly paid staff, 98% are employed on a guaranteed-hour contract. A minority of employees prefers the flexibility of a contract with no minimum hours. Where these contracts are used, employees receive exactly the same benefits as those on a guaranteed-hour contracts, there is no sole-employer restriction and no obligation on employees to accept those hours offered.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Wetherspoon is committed to equality of opportunity. We want to create and promote a diverse and inclusive working environment and eliminate any direct or indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation of our employees, job applicants, customers and contractors. We strive to maintain a working environment, terms and conditions of employment and personnel and management practices which ensure that no individual receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of his or her age, disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity.

Three network groups have been established to support employees at all levels:

  • LGBTQIA+
  • Race and ethnic diversity
  • Women

Historically, the company has not gathered data on employees’ ethnicity. From January 2022,
this information will be requested on a voluntary basis.

The breakdown, by gender, across the company is as follows:

  • 53% female and 47% male
  • senior manager level – 39% female and 61% male
  • board level – 25% female and 75% male

For the Gender Pay Report April 2020, click here.

The company has been recognised as an Age Positive and Disability Confident employer by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Antiharassment, antisexual harassment and antibullying

Harassment is not permitted or condoned in the work environment under any circumstances.

Everyone must be treated fairly and is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment, victimisation and bullying. This policy of no harassment applies to colleagues, customers, contractors and visitors.

A copy of our antiharassment policies for the UK (click here) and Ireland (click here) is available.

We train employees from induction and by way of regular refresher training that harassment, including third-party harassment (from customers and others), is not acceptable in the workplace.

We encourage those employees who believe that they are being harassed, under the terms of the policy, to speak up and report such behaviour to their line manager or to the personnel department. Alternatively, reports can be made directly to the dedicated whistleblowing e-mail address: whistleblowing@jdwetherspoon.co.uk

Training and career opportunities (including support with literacy, numeracy and vocational skills)

Our range of our training courses helps to motivate employees and provide them with the necessary skills to carry out their job to a consistently high standard.

The company strives to provide a career, rather than just a job, with those showing promise given the opportunity to progress. The nature of our business means that the company attracts applicants with a range of skills and experience. We offer employees apprenticeships and training programmes throughout their career with the company.

Internal progression is our main source of appointing job roles throughout the company.
All pub-manager and area-manager vacancies are filled by internal candidates.

In 2020/21, we promoted over 555 hourly paid staff to management positions.

Apprenticeships and qualifications

In the last 12 months, £2.49 million has been paid as an apprenticeship levy.

The apprenticeship programme was launched in January 2018, offering 10 qualifications:

  • Level 2 Housekeeping (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Food production (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Hospitality team member: Food and beverage (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Hospitality team member: Licensed retail (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Reception (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 3 Hospitality supervisor (equivalent to two A levels)
  • Level 3 Senior production chef (equivalent to two A levels)
  • Level 4 Hospitality manager (equivalent to foundation degree)
  • Level 5 Diploma in higher education: Business management practice (in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University)
  • Level 6 Chartered manager degree apprenticeship: Business management practice (in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University)

The apprenticeship programme develops specific skills, as well as to improve English and maths through functional skills training. Currently, of all apprentices, 97% are undergoing an English or maths qualification as part of their apprenticeship and 634 employees have completed a functional skills aim in the last
12 months.

In September 2021, the total number of employees undertaking an apprenticeship was 717, of which 56% are undergoing a qualification at level 2, 41% at level 3 and 3% at level 4.

Pay and reward

We aim to offer fair and competitive rates of pay and benefits to our staff, including a bonus scheme to all employees.

Pay rates for all employees are above the relevant National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

In addition to basic pay, all employees are eligible for a company bonus scheme, paid monthly to pub-based staff and bi-yearly to head-office-based staff.

Wetherspoon has, for many years (see table below), operated a bonus and share scheme for all employees. Before the pandemic, these awards increased, as earnings increased for shareholders.

Financial year

Bonus and free shares

(Loss)/profit after tax1

Bonus and free shares as % of profits

 

£m

£m

 

2006

17

40

41

2007

19

47

41

2008

16

36

45

2009

21

45

45

2010

23

51

44

2011

23

52

43

2012

24

57

42

2013

29

65

44

2014

29

59

50

2015

31

57

53

2016

33

57

58

2017

44

77

57

2018

43

84

51

2019

46

80

58

2020

33

(30)

-

2021

23

(136)

-

Total

454

641

49.32

1(Loss)/profit is pre-IFRS16 and before exceptional items.
2Excludes 2020 and 2021.

In the financial year ending July 2021, the company paid £23m in respect of bonuses and free shares to employees. Of the amount, 99.6% was paid to staff below board level and 89.8% to staff working in our pubs.

Since 2005, we have paid around £454m of bonuses and free shares, which is 49.3% of the total ‘profit after tax’ for that period (£641m), excluding 2020 and 2021.

All employees with more than 18 months’ service are eligible to join the Share Incentive Plan (SIP)5 and receive free shares in J D Wetherspoon plc, giving them the opportunity to benefit from the company’s future success. Employees can also choose to purchase additional shares in the company, under the partnership shares scheme.

In total, Wetherspoon has purchased and awarded 16.5 million shares to employees since 2004, 12.8% of the company’s share capital as at the end of financial year 2021.

In addition, approximately 15% of the company’s shares were allocated to employees under ‘share option’ schemes which operated before 2004.

At the end of the financial year ending July 2021, Wetherspoon had 39,025 employees of which nearly 14,000 were shareholders in the company. The average shareholding is 260 shares.

All employees:
• working a shift of four hours or longer are offered a complimentary meal and a drink.
• receive a staff discount which may be used on and off duty, across our pubs and hotels.

To reward loyalty, additional paid leave is awarded to all employees on completion of five, 10, 15 and 20 years’ continuous service, with additional shares and company pension contributions awarded to all employees achieving 25 years’ service – and every five years thereafter.

Employees may retain any tips which they receive – with no management charges imposed.

Employee engagement and consultation – approach to developing and monitoring a positive workplace culture

Wetherspoon’s decision-making has always benefited from the experience of pub-based employees who are in close contact with customers.

All employees are encouraged to participate actively in the business strategy, including:
• a ‘Tell Tim’ suggestion scheme for all employees; this generates over 200 ideas a week, all of which are reviewed and responded to by directors. Some of the suggestions received are for new products; others are for small, or sometimes big, improvements to the myriad ways of working; others are just challenging the status quo about any aspect of working for the company.
• a selection of pub managers, area managers and other pub employees being invited to attend and contribute to weekly operations meetings at head office, hosted by the chairman or chief executive. The minutes are sent to all pubs, with employees encouraged to add their comments to the discussions and debates.
• regular liaison meetings with employees, at all levels, to gain feedback on aspects of the business and ideas for improvements.
• directors and senior management completing regular visits to pubs – and pub employees visiting head office.
• directors, senior management and area managers regularly working in all areas of pubs’ operation, including the kitchen, bar and hotels.
• a weekly e-mail to all employees from the chief executive.
• a dedicated employee website: myJDW.co.uk

After consultation with shareholders and employees, it was felt that the company would benefit from having more pub experience at board level; in August 2021, the process commenced to appoint to the board ‘employee directors’.

The roles are part time, taking an average of one day a month, for which employees will be released from their usual day-to-day duties. Each appointment will be entered into on a three-year fixed-term basis and will, like all director appointments, be subject to shareholders’ approval at the annual general meeting.

Employee directors do not have management responsibility for the running of the entire company, which will remain the responsibility of the full-time executive directors. They will be asked to contribute to the decision-making process, based on their experience and opinions. An important aspect of the roles is promoting and protecting the distinctive aspects of the company’s culture – crucial factors in its future success.

While some employees are members of a union or representative body, the company does not recognise any union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

The company respects employees’ rights to freedom of association.

Employees’ occupational health and well-being

We support the well-being of our employees on a wide range of physical and mental health issues, including those raised at the recruitment stage. Wetherspoon seeks to make necessary adjustments reasonably required to help our employees to maintain employment and to ensure that they are not harmed by their work.

The company is committed, at all times, to supporting positive mental health in the workplace and assisting our employees, wherever possible, with mental health problems. Our aim is always to encourage positive mental well-being and health in the workplace (and outside of work) – an important part of the company’s commitment to being a Top Employer.

The range of support available to all employees is detailed in the mental health and well-being policy and includes a well-being checklist, a wellness recovery action plan and confidential external counselling for all employees through the Licensed Trade Association.

Pub managers and area managers can offer further support and guidance to line managers and employees, as required.

In addition, any employee can apply to the independent welfare committee for additional financial, pastoral and/or occupational health support. All requests are considered and responded to weekly.

We offer a range of flexible working arrangements and hours to support employees in different stages of their career and life.

Gender pay gap-reporting 

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference in the average pay of men and women across the company – regardless of their role. Median and mean gaps are calculated using those calculations set out in the gender pay gap-reporting regulations.

There were only 52 employees deemed to be in relevant employment on the snapshot date of 5 April 2020, the majority being head office based. An additional 42,768 employees had been placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and were on furlough on the snapshot date; therefore, they have not been included in the calculations.

However, to provide a comparison with previous years, the same calculations were made based on the 42,820 employees who, before the COVID-19-related lockdown on 20 March 2020, were working in our pubs, hotels and at head office, within Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (Employees in the Republic of Ireland were not included.)

The median gender pay gap was -0.45% (2019: 0.23%). A negative gender pay gap means that, on average, women earned more than men. 

The mean gender pay gap was 3.97% (2019: 4.17%). 

A full copy of the report is available at: www.jdwetherspoon.com 

Labour relations 

There have been no significant labour relations disruptions or unrest in the year under review. 

Human rights 

Antislavery and human-trafficking statement 

The company is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure that our company policies and working practices help to combat the global issues of slavery and human-trafficking. There are policies and procedures to address these issues specifically and to reinforce our zero-tolerance company stance against modern slavery and human-trafficking. 

In the past year, we have continued to work with our suppliers to ensure full compliance with our company policies and requisite standards, as stated in the company’s supplier charter. 

We continue to focus on transparency within our supply chains and require all suppliers of food, drinks and non-consumables to become member of Sedex – the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. 

The antislavery and human-trafficking statement is published at www.jdwetherspoon.com in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It outlines the approach which the company is taking to prevent modern slavery in our business and supply chains. 

Charity

UK nominated charity – Young Lives vs Cancer

The company’s UK nominated charity is Young Lives vs Cancer (previously CLIC Sargent). It supports children and young people with cancer. Since our partnership began in 2002, Wetherspoon has raised over £19 million for the charity. This achievement is thanks to the generosity and commitment of our customers and employees. Those funds raised more recently are detailed below, by year.


Amount donated (£)

August 2011–July 2012

1,408,921

August 2012–July 2013

1,606,163

August 2013–July 2014

1,653,941

August 2014–July 2015

1,714,125

August 2015–July 2016

1,622,461

August 2016–July 2017

1,749,691

August 2017–July 2018

1,674,090

August 2018–July 2019

1,541,618

August 2019–July 2020

1,114,668

August 2020–July 2021

214,888


Republic of Ireland nominated charity – LauraLynn

In 2015, Wetherspoon nominated LauraLynn as its supported charity in the Republic of Ireland. The charity provides palliative and supportive care services to meet the needs of children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Thanks to the efforts of our customers and staff, as at July 2021 (and since 2015), we have raised more than €269,000.


Amount donated (€)

August 2015–July 2016

9,669

August 2016–July 2017

18,842

August 2017–July 2018

22,089

August 2018–July 2019

33,826

August 2019–July 2020

85,885

August 2020–July 2021

98,990


The Royal British Legion poppy appeal

Our pubs continue to support this appeal, selling poppies and raising around £25,000 a year.

FareShare
is the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste. FareShare saves good food from going to waste, redistributing it to frontline charities. Since working with FareShare, Wetherspoon has donated, on average, over 300 meals a week to the charity.

Between January 2020 and June 2021, the company gave a total of 24 tonnes of food donations, or 54,143 meals, to 1,118 charities. 

Local charities

Collectively, our pubs have also donated to local and other charities and organisations, including the 
Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Industry trade bodies and associations 

Wetherspoon is a member of the following trade bodies, associations and charities:

UK Hospitality – campaigning on behalf of its retailer members, encouraging the government to recognise and act on the economic, social and charitable values which pubs bring to communities 
up and down the land.

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)
– members are responsible for 90% of the beer brewed in Britain today and represent around 20,000 of Britain’s pubs. They include international companies, family brewers, managed locals and the nation’s largest tenanted pub estates. Its aim is to support, represent and campaign for the well-being of the beer and pub sector.

Drinkaware – an independent charity working to reduce harm from alcohol misuse in the UK.

National Pubwatch
– a voluntary organisation set up to promote best practice through supporting the work of local pubwatch schemes. Its aim is to achieve a safer drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – a not-for-profit organisation which supports companies in working towards sustainability, guiding customers to make more sustainable choices.

Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) – the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains (including labour rights, health and safety, the environment and business ethics), used by over 50,000 members in more than 150 countries. 

Community engagement 

Pubs as part of the local community 

Pubs are a focal point of the community. We try to contribute in a number of ways. 

Research (published in June 2018) by the data and research consultancy CGA has shown that a Wetherspoon pub more often has a positive effect on the local area and can stimulate general local interest in eating out. A full copy of the report is available here.

Pubs’ design and facilities 

Over the years, the company has won several awards for pub design and community facilities. 
Details of the most recent ones are available here. 

Public-access defibrillators 

These have been installed in 22 pubs and at the Wethercentre (our head office in Watford) for use by 
the wider community. Most of these are sited on an external wall, although some are currently inside the building. Following feedback from our employees and customers, we have committed to install public-access defibrillators in as many of our pubs as possible by July 2022. 

Supporting customers with disabilities 

The company works with the charity Changing Places which supports those with physical disabilities (such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis) who may need extra facilities or space to allow them to use a toilet safely and comfortably. Changing Places toilets are different from standard accessible toilets (or disabled toilets) and larger – to meet the needs of those using them. We have built Changing Places toilets in 11 pubs7 , providing these facilities for disabled customers and their carers.

We have teamed up with Good Food Talks to make it easier for our visually impaired customers to browse through the menu at their local Wetherspoon. Good Food Talks (goodfoodtalks.com) enhances facilities for the blind and visually impaired, when dining out, as well as for those with other reading difficulties, allowing browsing and listening to the menu through a fully accessible website and iOS mobile app.

Working in partnership with Mencap, we provide work placements in our pubs for those with learning difficulties.

We support the Not Every Disability is Visible campaign, highlighting the stigma and misunderstanding which can surround those with invisible disabilities, including colitis and Crohn’s disease.


Published: January 2022



5An equivalent scheme is offered to those employed in the Republic of Ireland.

6Public-access defibrillators are available at: The Furze Wren, Bexleyheath; The Three Hulats, Chapel Allerton; The Moon under Water, Cheltenham; The Counting House, Congleton; Guildhall and Linen Exchange, Dunfermline; The Regal, Gloucester; The Rodboro Buildings, Guildford; The Gordon Highlander, Inverurie; The Gold Cape, Mold; The Union Rooms, Plymouth; The Watch Maker, Prescot; The Unicorn, Ripon; The Regal Moon, Rochdale; The Salt Cot, Saltcoates; The Banker’s Draft, Sheffield; Sir Henry Segrave, Southport; The Society Rooms, Stalybridge; The William Webb Ellis, Twickenham; The Tim Bobbin, Urmston; The Horse Shoe, Wombwell

7Changing Places facilities are available at: The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bedford; The Velvet Coaster, Blackpool; Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party, Bletchley; The Prior John, Bridlington; The Booking Office, Edinburgh; The Lifeboat, Formby; The Troll Cart, Great Yarmouth; Sandford House, Huntingdon; The Mossy Well, Muswell Hill; Royal Victoria Pavilion, Ramsgate; The Iron Duke, Wellington