Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has added an all employee car ownership plan and a mobile phone salary sacrifice arrangement to its benefits package. Both perks are believed to be of wide appeal to the organisation’s 7,500 employees, however, the trust’s firewall has been made so secure to protect sensitive data, that some employees have been prevented from accessing the car scheme. Carol Byatt, staff benefits co-ordinator, said: "It’s early days, though there’s been quite a lot of interest in [the perks]. We’ve had a few hiccups, as the Trust firewall was blocking people’s access." She added that the popularity of the organisation’s on-site nursery and childcare vouchers had prompted it to look into other tax-efficient perks, which can be introduced on a cost-neutral basis. The car scheme, which was introduced in July, allows employees to choose a car from an online catalogue and make monthly lease payments over a three-year period out of pre-tax salary.
They can then return the car or buy it outright. The trust now plans to introduce tax-efficient mobile phones in November. "People are constantly changing their phone, they all want the next model. It seems like something that will appeal to everybody in the trust," Byatt added. Through the Sourcecom-provided scheme, employees can opt to take up packages which include one handset and a call plan. Depending on their individual tax rate, staff can save either 33% or 41% on income tax. The organisation plans to promote its new benefits through employees’ payslips and an internal newsletter.