Posted by Robert Half on 18 June 2014
Wimbledon fever is set to grip the UK workforce over the next couple of weeks, with employees across the country - including many who aren't normally interested in tennis - enjoying following the tournament. The matches come thick and fast, creating a talking point in the office, and a shared, common interest - particularly while Andy Murray remains in the tournament.
This creates a real opportunity for employers to boost staff morale, providing they are prepared to enter into the spirit of things. Those who are prepared to embrace the event by organising Wimbledon-themed events and activities may be able to foster greater team spirit, strengthen employee relationships and boost overall staff morale in the workplace.
Have a Wimbledon party
And what better way to boost staff morale than to stage a Wimbledon party. Choose one of the big Centre Court matches on to show, either cater in the office or head out into the city, and put some smiles on the faces of your hard-working staff. And best of all, there's no need to pay a penny in tax or National Insurance for the privilege.
When it comes to workplace social events, employers are permitted to spend up to £150 per member of staff without incurring any charges. This could potentially cover expenditure on food, drink, transport and even accommodation, meaning there is a decent budget for hospitality and plenty of scope to stage a great evening for your employees. They can even bring their spouse or partner if they so choose, providing the cost per head remains under the £150 limit.
Pick a different theme
As the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) explains, it doesn't just have to be a Wimbeldon-themed party. If literally nobody in the office is interested in the tennis - or you've missed the boat because all the Brits have already tumbled out of the tournament - you can simply pick a different theme. What about the World Cup final, for instance? The same tax relief rules apply to any annual party or social function, providing it is open to all staff members or to workers at a particular location and it is still a good way to boost staff morale.
ICAEW notes that the tax-free limit applies for the whole tax year. So as an employer, there is nothing to stop you from organising two or more employee parties or social events. So long as the total cost over the 12-month period is no greater than £150 per head, it will be tax free. You will need to be careful not to exceed the cap however, as going just a penny over means the organisation must pay tax on the entire amount. Indeed, the expenditure will be taxed as an employee benefit, and this could leave you with a hefty, unwanted bill.
A great opportunity to boost staff morale
Anita Monteith, of the ICAEW Tax Faculty, said plenty of businesses and organisations will be hosting events for their employees in the coming weeks, particularly with the football ongoing in Brazil. "Having a summer party is a real staff morale booster and rewards the hard work that staff put in over the year, as well as demonstrating a sense of unity," she stated. "It is also a good way for businesses to show appreciation for their employees' contributions and encourages their commitment and ongoing efforts. With no tax charged, it means there are no penalties from HM Revenue & Customs."