EXCLUSIVE: The most common benefits offered through a salary sacrifice arrangement on a voluntary basis are childcare vouchers (76%), bikes-for-work schemes (62%) and pensions contributions (60%), according to exclusive research by Employee Benefits.
The Benefits Research 2013, which surveyed 561 HR and benefits professionals, found that the number of employers that enable staff to access benefits through a salary sacrifice arrangement has increased steadily over the past few years.
For instance, in 2009, 44% of respondents that offered benefits via salary sacrifice enabled staff to make pension contributions in this way. In 2013, 91% of respondents offer the benefit through flexible or voluntary benefits schemes.
The most common benefits offered via a salary sacrifice arrangement through a flexible benefits scheme include pension contributions (31%), health screening (30%), group income protection (29%) and childcare vouchers (22%).
These figures have stayed relatively consistent over the past year. In 2012, 33% of respondents offered pension contributions through a salary sacrifice arrangement as part of a flex plan, while 34% offered health screening, 24% group income protection and 29% childcare vouchers.
Childcare vouchers remain a popular tax-efficient benefit through which employers support staff, with 98% of this year’s respondents offering them.
But change is on the way following Chancellor George Osborne’s 2013 Budget. He confirmed that the current childcare voucher scheme will be replaced by a tax-free scheme, with the government providing working families with 20% of their childcare costs, up to £1,200 for each child.
This means that, from 2015, employers will be longer be responsible for providing staff with childcare vouchers.