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< More news

£520 million in free shares and bonuses paid to employees since 2006

83 per cent paid to pub staff

• Wetherspoons news

Note from the editor: The article below outlines Wetherspoon’s bonus and free shares scheme. No company is perfect, but Wetherspoon believes that it pays a higher percentage of its profits in this way than most, or possibly any, large companies.

Since the early 1980s, Wetherspoon has awarded bonuses, free shares and ‘share options’ to pub employees.
The current scheme of paying monthly bonuses to all pub employees, subject to certain criteria, started in 1998, with a government-approved free share scheme introduced in 2003.

Bonuses and share schemes provide an extra incentive for people to stay with the company: there are 18 employees who have worked for the company for over 30 years, 584 for over 20 years, 3,668 for over 10 years and 10,663 for over five years. Since 2006, the company has paid £520 million to its employees in respect of bonuses and free shares.

Of the recipients, approximately 96 per cent went to employees below board level, with around 83 per cent paid to employees working in pubs.

Employees are eligible for bonuses from the commencement of their employment and are eligible for free shares after 18 months. In the financial year ended July 2023, bonuses and free shares of £36 million were awarded (see table^ below), with 88 per cent of employees receiving a bonus and/or shares in that period.

At the current time, 14,317 of our 42,211 employees have been awarded free shares in the company. It’s probably true to say that no one earns a vast fortune from these schemes.

However, as far as the company is aware, Wetherspoon consistently pays a bigger percentage of its profits to its employees, by way of bonuses and free shares, than any other large pub/restaurant company or retailer.

Since the share scheme was introduced, Wetherspoon has awarded 25.9 million shares to employees – approximately 19.9 per cent of all shares in existence today.

Wetherspoon’s chief executive, John Hutson, said: “People are vital to the success of the business.

“Our bonus and share schemes are a good way to share in the company’s success.”