John Lewis intends to cut the time its employees will have to wait before they can join its pension scheme from five years to three.

Staff have backed the plan, which will cost the group an extra£9 million a year. John Lewis is putting forward the proposal to the Partnership council, which meets on March 13.

If the change is approved, thousands of John Lewis and Waitrose staff will be entitled to join the pension scheme now.

Each year, about 700 John Lewis employees reach their 25th year with the retailer. The group meets the full cost of staff’s retirement income based on 1/60th of the final salary for every year of service.

John Lewis Partnership will report its full-year results tomorrow.