Safeway Contractors ends ‘pay to be paid’ culture for its temporary workforce

Matt Tyson

In a move thought to be the first of its kind, Safeway Contractors has announced that its temporary workers will no longer have to pay an umbrella company for payroll services, as it will now pay these fees on their behalf.

Manchester-based Safeway is a provider of specialist rail, engineering and construction services.

Working with payroll and accountancy services provider Walker Smith, part of the WORKR Group, Safeway will put an end to the ‘paying to be paid’ culture which will see each of its temporary workers up to £30 per week better off.

Safeway supplies highly skilled workers to help deliver a variety of projects, either as a contingent labour supplier or by sub-contracting part or all of the project.

At any given-time it can engage between 50 and 100 workers on a temporary basis for rail, engineering or construction projects across the UK.

This agreement will give Safeway’s temporary workers free access to Walker Smith’s contractor benefits package which includes payroll services, holiday pay, maternity and paternity benefits, healthcare cover, a 24-hour GP consultation service and high street discounts.

Safeway also opted to add Walker Smith’s dedicated counselling support line to its benefits package, giving temporary workers free access to the helpline 24×7.

The firm said that it was important that its temporary workers have access to a service that could support their wellbeing when working away.

Many of its rail engineers often work on projects away from home or, due to the nature of the work, unsocial hours, which can have a detrimental impact on some people’s wellbeing.

The helpline has already been well received and has been frequently accessed by Safeway’s workforce.

Paul Walpole, director at Safeway Contractors, said: “We are delighted to be spearheading this new initiative in our sector which will see our temporary workers significantly better off each week.

“Paying for a service just to get paid is like an additional tax on temporary workers, and it can hit the pocket hard, especially for those who don’t have a fixed, regular income.

“We’re the first firm in our sector to do this and, obviously, our workers are delighted at the news. We will be paying Walker Smith directly to take care of payroll and provide an attractive benefits package.”

He added: “We really hope other businesses follow our lead and champion the welfare of their workforce. No-one working on a temporary contract should have to pay to be paid.”

Matt Tyson, managing director, Walker Smith, said: “Temporary workers often get a raw deal when it comes to pay and benefits, so it’s brilliant to see Safeway Contractors put in place an initiative that will see its workers’ take home pay increase.

“Being chosen to support Safeway with this initiative demonstrates the quality of services we’re aiming to build for temporary staff under our WORKR brand.

“We expect to see more firms who regularly engage a temporary workforce follow suit and put the welfare of their workers first.”