A voluntary benefit scheme comprises of a selection of products or services which are made available through an employer but are paid for by staff out of their own taxed income. These goods are typically offered at a discounted price, which enables employers to provide a wide range of perks at a relatively low cost. Voluntary benefits are unlike flexible benefits where the employer typically pays for the perks.
Organisations can either use a third party provider to put a plan in place or negotiate ad-hoc discounts for staff with local shops or facilities. Providers can also monitor schemes for employers and act as a contact point for employees, therefore helping to relieve some of the administrative pressures from employers.
In the past companies have provided staff with paper-based voluntary benefits booklets, allowing employees to flick through and make their choices on the discounted products.
However, on-line voluntary benefit schemes are now very common, making it easier for employers to add new voluntary benefits as and when they please, and allowing staff to make selections at the click of a button.