Giving to charity through Give As You Earn, the payroll-giving scheme run by the Charities Aid Foundation, has more than doubled over the past 10 years, new figures show.
CAF's Annual Report 2010 shows that £81m was donated to charity in 2009/10 by the 500,000 employees who give through the scheme each month. This is an increase of 153 per cent since 1999/2000, when £31m was donated.
More than 3,000 companies offer the scheme to their employees and many match-fund donations, often doubling the amount that goes to employees' chosen charities. Last year, more then 20,600 charities benefited from the scheme.
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: "The recession and higher taxes have made people realise the importance of giving tax effectively to boost donations.
"GAYE is one of the best ways to give to charity because every time a basic rate taxpayer gives £10 to charity in this way, it only costs them £8. This regular source of income is vital for charities because it enables them to make plans."
Low called on the government to introduce a universal payroll-giving scheme, pointing out that, according to recent research by CAF, 70 per cent of business leaders would support such a scheme.
According to figures from the Association of Payroll Giving in October 2009, 44 per cent of UK employees worked for an organisation with a payroll-giving scheme.