Grocery companies have come together to toast the 25th anniversary of the payroll giving initiative Sharing the Caring.

The scheme enables staff to donate direct to charities from their pay tax-free, and has raised £1.2bn since it was established.

Big-name retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and wholesaler Henderson Group all offer the scheme to staff.

Charlotte Smith, community affairs manager at Sainsbury’s, joined representatives from the scheme at Downing Street last week to deliver an anniversary card. The retailer has been working with Sharing the Caring for 15 years and this year has introduced more than 1,000 donors.

“Payroll giving is an integral part of the charity programmes we offer colleagues, enabling them to support causes they love,” Smith said.

Bally Sandhu, benefits administrator for Morrisons, added: “We are proud that our payroll giving scheme raises more than £500,000 a year, with just under 8,000 colleagues choosing to give to more than 95 charities, including our charity of the year, Save The Children.”

Ruth Girardet, corporate responsibility and communities director for Tesco, said that it too was delighted to support the scheme. “We are very pleased to be able to offer it to our 300,000 staff. It is an easy and appealing way for them to make regular tax-free donations to the causes close to their hearts.”

More than 8,200 companies offer the scheme, which involves 720,000 staff and benefits more than 13,000 charities.