Marks & Spencer is planning to cut redundancy benefits for its 60,000 staff, sparking fears of job losses.

According to The Times, an internal memo proposes to reduce the maximum payout that employees can receive in relation to their length of service from 70 weeks to 52 weeks.

The proposed change has triggered fears of a middle-management cull, since anyone aged over 41 would receive only three weeks’ pay for each year they had worked at M&S if made redundant, compared with 3.75 weeks at present. The proposals are expected to be introduced by September 1.

A letter sent by employee representatives to the M&S board read: “There is zero confidence that we will not be entering another round of redundancies, and a strong suspicion that this is one of the reasons behind the proposal.”

An M&S spokeswoman said the proposals put the group in line with other retailers, but added that the new terms were still more favourable than most of its rivals’.