LUSH is to give 1,000 workers at its Poole factory a pay rise worth up to £2,184 after announcing it will become a Living Wage employer.

The move – which applies to 3,555 staff across the UK – comes as the global cosmetics brand reveals a 76 per cent rise in profits.

It is also doubling parental leave and paying for 20 hours a week of childcare for established staff returning to full-time work.

Director Mark Constantine, who co-founded the business in Poole High Street in 1995, said: “The public have been kind enough to support us and now we’re in a position where we can share that.”

Permanent staff who are currently paid £7.40 an hour – which is 20p an hour above the government’s National Living Wage – will see their pay rise to the £8.45 recommended by the Living Wage Foundation. The move will cost the company more than £7million a year and will apply to 1,077 workers in the Poole factory, as well as 2,478 shop staff outside London. The company already paid the Living Wage in the capital.

The rise is worth £2,184 to an employee working 40 hours a week.

As well as the Living Wage commitment, Lush announced:

Maternity leave will rise from three months to six months at full pay, while paternity leave will rise from two weeks to four.

The company will provide 20 hours of childcare for primary care-givers returning to full time work, until the child is three. The benefit applies to staff who have been with the company for two years or more and is potentially worth £6,182 before tax.

Lush is setting up an Employee Benefit Trust to bring an element of employee ownership to the business. The trust will initially own 10 per cent of newly issued shares.

Accounts filed today show Lush’s brand sales were up 26 per cent to £723m in the year ending on June 30 last year, while pre-tax profits rose 76 per cent to £43.2m.

Lush donated £6.2m to charity and paid £2.25m in dividends. The company has 928 branded shops in 48 countries.

Mr Constantine said some staff wept when they were told of the new benefits at a Lush conference. He said he was “proud” of the benefits for parents in particular.

“Over 70 per cent of staff are female,” he said.

“Just getting people to come back full time was a real challenge.”

More on Lush’s results, including an interview with Mark Constantine, in the business pages of tomorrow’s Echo.