You may have heard employee discount schemes mentioned around the workplace. They go by many names: employee benefits, salary sacrifice. Maybe you have accessed a scheme in the past and want to see what other options are out there. Read on to discover the different types of employee discount schemes available and how you can access them.
What is an Employee Discounts Scheme?
Employee discount schemes are workplace benefits that are offered by employers to attract staff to their business and improve morale around the office.
Discount schemes can have many benefits for both employees and businesses, not least of all reduced tax and National Insurance contributions.
An employee discounts scheme works when an employee agrees to a lower salary every month in return for a non-cash benefit such as a company car, reduced rates on the latest model of phone, or the ability to claim back healthcare costs.
To learn more about how employee discount schemes work through salary sacrifice, click here.
Discount Schemes Available to Employees
The following schemes are typical employee discount schemes offered by benefit providers such as Enjoy Benefits. Most businesses who offer these schemes to their employees will use a benefits provider to manage the process.
Employees receive vouchers that can be used to offset the cost of childcare. This scheme is often used as an incentive in the return to work decision after maternity or paternity leave. EnjoyBenefits are no longer accepting new applicants for this scheme.
The workplace nursery scheme also helps working parents return to the office after the birth of their child. It guarantees your child a place in a nursery of your choice and covers children up to the age of five. Your childcare fees will be paid for by your employer and the nursery will receive additional funding to improve their services.
Encouraging people to be more environmentally aware, this scheme makes cycling equipment more affordable for employees. You can purchase from any bicycle retailer and your employer will pick up the cost. You will then have to repay your employer over a fixed period of time, but the cost will be lower than the buying price.
If your washing machine has just given up the ghost, or you need a new laptop but just can’t fork out the money, this is what the technology scheme is for. The business you work for will buy the technology for you and you pay them back over 12 months, saving up to 12% on the cost. Using this scheme also means that you avoid credit checks.
Maybe you’ve been eyeing up that swanky new phone for quite a while, peering enviously through shop windows. Well, this scheme is designed to help you get your hands on the latest sim-free mobile phones at reduced rates. As with similar schemes, your employer will make the purchase on your behalf and you will pay them back over a set time frame.
Used to encourage a healthy lifestyle and boost productivity, this scheme gives employees access to a gym membership at discounted corporate rates. This scheme can be applied to thousands of chain or independent gyms and leisure centres around the nation and can even be used at bootcamps or fitness studios.
A healthcare cash plan allows employees to claim back the cost of regular healthcare no matter your medical history. It can sometimes be extended to your family and covers services like the opticians, dentist or physiotherapist. Medical tests such as MRI scans and health screening are included in some plans; conditions apply.
Car Parking Scheme
Do you have trouble finding a parking space in the morning? Do you have to keep running out of the office to feed the metre? The car parking scheme is perfect for companies with limited parking, giving employees access to a discounted annual parking ticket.
This scheme will get you what is often referred to as a ‘company car’. Employees are able to lease any brand new car (within reason), and all costs are covered by the employer. Maintenance, insurance, road tax, tyre replacement and roadside assistance are all taken care of; you don’t even need to pass credit checks.
How to Access an Employee Discounts Scheme
The easiest way to access employee discounts is to speak to your employer. Every workplace is different, so the most straightforward answer will come from the boss themselves.
Before doing this, you may want to browse the company website or intranet to see if you can find a page on employee benefits and how to sign up.
Some larger companies actively advertise their benefits schemes with emails, newsletters and events. These businesses will likely have a benefits enrolment system in place. If you can find out how to enrol, you will have access to an online benefits portal that will make it easy to navigate employee discount schemes.
There are some things to bear in mind before committing to a scheme. You should think about how the scheme you are applying for might affect any bonuses, pay rises, pensions and statutory benefits available to you; whether salary sacrifice might move you from a higher to lower tax band; and the terms around opting out of the scheme.
If you are unsure on any of these points, speak to your employer.
For more information on employee discounts schemes, visit our website or call 0800 088 7315 to speak to a member of our team.