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How to use trivial benefits in the workplace

Looking for an effective way to improve employee morale, job satisfaction, and promote an engaged workforce?

Then you should consider adding trivial benefits to your company benefits package. These small, inexpensive perks can have a big impact on your team.

In this short guide, you'll discover how to utilise trivial benefits in the modern workplace and learn that the benefits to employees are anything but trivial.

What are Trivial benefits?

A trivial benefit is a tax-free, non-cash perk given to employees that is not subject to income tax or national insurance contributions.

According to HMRC, a trivial benefit must meet the following requirements:

  • They must cost £50 or less to provide
  • They can't be cash payments or cash vouchers
  • They can't be a reward for work or performance
  • They can't be included in the terms of an employment contract.

The term 'trivial' relates to the relatively small value of this type of benefit, which means it does not need to be declared to HMRC. 

While there is no limit on how many trivial benefits an employee can receive a year (as long as each benefit does not exceed £50) a limited company with five or fewer 'participants' must not exceed an annual limit of £300 in the tax year.

What are some examples of trivial benefits? 

As long as the benefit meets all of the criteria listed above, it can be classified as trivial. This means that employee benefits provided for long service, for team-building events, or as a reward for performance don't qualify as trivial.

Though by no means a definitive list, the following type of benefits can be classed as trivial:

  • Workplace pizzas 
  • Bunch of flowers 
  • Birthday meals out
  • Box of chocolates 
  • Bottles of wine
  • Gift cards and eGifts

What are the advantages of giving trivial benefits?

They may be trivial in value but trivial benefits are priceless when helping your employees feel valued and appreciated.

Recognising employees has been shown to significantly improve employee motivation, boost employee engagement by 14%, and attract top talent.

Another compelling reason to adopt trivial benefits in the workplace is that it's better to recognise staff with smaller rewards more frequently than to offer one large reward, according to research in The New England Journal of Medicine.

As for advantages to your business, higher employee engagement levels can increase profitability by 22% and organisations that excel at recognising employees are 12 times more likely to enjoy strong business results.

How to make the most of trivial benefits in the workplace

Now that we've uncovered what trivial benefits are, let's review the most common reasons for giving employees a trivial benefit as a token of appreciation from time to time.

Acknowledge seasonal occasions

Whether it's Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, or other special events and festivities, you can give employees seasonal gifts that are unrelated to their performance during the year.

These gestures of goodwill can include summer BBQs, chocolate treats, a Christmas turkey, a small hamper, or a bottle of wine. Some companies offer employees a flu jab benefit to immunise them against seasonal flu.

Employee-related gifts

As long as it isn't a reward for work or reaching performance targets (and it costs £50 or less), you can give employees a trivial benefit to show you value them.

For example, you can arrange for those joining or leaving the company to receive gift vouchers as a welcome or farewell gift.

Celebrate personal milestones

You can keep staff morale high by providing token gifts to recognise a particular event in their lives.

These occasional gifts to employees can include birthday gifts, anniversary flowers, housewarming gifts, new baby congratulations, or sympathy gifts.

To ease the cost of living

With employees tackling the cost-of-living crisis, trivial benefits can be used to help them make ends meet.

For example, a gift card that can be redeemed for food, clothes, or fuel at their favourite retailer can make a huge difference and show employees that they're recognised and appreciated.

As long as it doesn't become a regular part of their contract or salary, you can help to ease the financial strain in this way, multiple times a year.

Want to unlock the everyday perks of trivial benefits?

To find out more about adding tax-free trivial benefits to your current benefits offering, get in touch today on 0208 159 9430, via our contact page, or by emailing