Now is the time to offer your employees a healthier, greener and cheaper commute to work. Cycle to work salary sacrifice schemes are confirmed as protected from government cuts says Lucie Cherrington, Head of Cycle2work at Halfords
The UK has been pushing for a ‘cycle revolution’ for some time – to get people on their bikes as a part of their daily routine. While salary sacrifice has been under review for a while, the 2016 Budget made it clear that the government considers cycle-to-work schemes a vital part of the workplace health agenda.
Our association with the Cycle to Work Alliance drives awareness of just how beneficial the scheme is. The principal challenges we face as a provider are the misconceptions that exist around the burden of administration of a scheme and questions around employee appetite for schemes. In response to this, our scheme aims to keep employer admin to a minimum, and we offer a high level of support for both employer and employees throughout the scheme’s lifecycle. Research carried out by the Cycle to Work Alliance also dispels any concerns employers might have about only appealing to employees who are already enthusiastic cyclists. The results showed that 62% of scheme members would have classed themselves as non- or novice cyclists prior to joining a scheme, and 80% of them would not have got a bike if cycle to work had not been available to them.
THE HEALTH PROPOSITION
Cycle to work has become an integral part of the employee benefits package, and the health benefits of the scheme are a key reason for this.
The scheme is an easy way for employers to give their colleagues an affordable health benefit that makes fitness a part of their everyday lives. Moreover, the Cycle to Work Alliance research shows evidence of the direct health benefits of taking part in a cycle-to-work scheme.
In a survey of around 40,000 cycle to work scheme members:
- 89% of participants noticed that their health improved in general
- 84% of users said the scheme was an important way for them to get fit
- 97% of businesses think that the scheme is an important way of encouraging a healthier workforce
The scheme has made cycling accessible and affordable, and also encouraged people to change the way they commute to work.
It is helpful to learn what specific barriers or challenges employers face, such as absenteeism, or being a very desk-based workplace where people struggle to find time to make exercise part of their day. We really try to understand the make-up of each business and their colleagues, and then put a bespoke launch plan in place which will encourage take-up.
From posters and leaflets to digital content available 24/7 on company websites, it’s important that we keep reinventing ourselves and re-energising what we can offer to employees to keep it fresh.
THE SAVINGS SOLUTION
Now cycle to work schemes have been given the governmental stamp of approval, it has reassured employers that the time is now to reap both their health and savings benefits.
Halfords also offer a unique National Minimum Wage solution, ensuring an employer is compliant. Through Halfords Cycle2work, everyone can access a bike, regardless of pay grade.
THE UNIVERSAL BENEFIT
There are many misconceptions around both the locations and demographics about scheme users – however the reality is that cycle to work is a popular benefit across the UK. The appetite for the scheme stretches nationwide, which is why we have invested so strongly in our network of shops (Halfords shops and over 800 independent bike shops), so that employees can access bikes easily and have a fantastic choice of brands. Our wide range covers every price point and ability ensuring we cater for the entire workforce.
Two-thirds of people who join the scheme are basic-rate taxpayers, and are either looking for more affordable ways of getting to work, or are looking at health solutions.
Cycle to work plays an important role in influencing commuting habits but equally in improving health and wellness habits.
For further information visit us online at cycle2work.info or call 0345 504 6444