Employers' Guide to Long Service Awards

By Adam Turner.
27 Aug 2019

As an employer, you may want to show your appreciation to staff who have dedicated themselves to your business for a long time. You can do this by offering them a long service award.

This guide explores the purpose behind this initiative and what it can bring to your business.


What is a long service award?

It’s a scheme designed to recognise employees who have worked in your service for a consecutive 20 years or more.


Long service award gifts

There’s no specific catch-all item you’re required to give to employees to reward long service. Your gift will differ depending on the staff member and the company, but some general employee long service award gift ideas include:

  • Additional holiday leave.
  • Travel, for example a weekend break.
  • Experiences, such as spa days, sporting events or skydiving.
  • Vouchers or gift cards (it’s worth noting that you may need to pay VAT on long service awards of this nature).

What you reward your staff with is up to you, but remember, there are certain tax, reporting and National Insurance obligations you’ll need to bear in mind when you offer one to an employee.


Are long service awards taxable?

You won’t have to pay tax or report on a long service award if:

  • The award is a non-cash gift.
  • The award is worth less than £50 per year of service.
  • You haven’t given them a long service award in the last decade.
  • The employee has worked in your organisation for at least 20 years.

If your employee is part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, you will need to pay long service award tax.


Long service award certificates

Employees appreciate tokens of recognition and a certificate of tenure is a great way to show them your appreciation.

Giving your staff member a physical token of how much you value their service offers them a permanent reminder of your company’s positive attitude towards them.

If you’re unsure about how to arrange your long service award certificate wording, feel free to use the template below:


Long service award certificate template

TITLE: Years of Service Award

This certificate is awarded to [employee name] in appreciation of their dedicated service to [company name] over the last [number of years].

Awarded by [employer name] on [date awarded].

[Employer signature]


You can also add an additional line to detail ceremony details if you wish.


Expert support

If you need further pay and benefits advice, then speak to a Croner expert today on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Adam has been with Croner Reward for 3 years. He has over 15 years’ experience working with various organisations and sectors. He has a strong passion, breadth and depth for job evaluation and salary benchmarking. He has a strong customer focused work ethic, ensuring clients always get the best possible outcome for their organisations from their Reward Projects.

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