Monday, 21 December 2015

Extend your savings at the Boxing Day sales

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house… Who are we kidding? Most of us are still at work, waiting for the clock to strike midday on Christmas Eve. You may find the fact that it’s not time for your turkey dinner yet depressing, but fear not as Staffordshire employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits has just the solution for your Christmas anticipation.

Forget counting down the time until you can leave the office, the fact that you’re still at work means you may have the opportunity to extend your savings at the Boxing Day sales.
Here’s how – through your employer you can access something called a Retail Discounts scheme. It’s extremely straight-forward, the scheme gives you a license for a year and you log in to an online portal either on your desktop computer or via an app on your smartphone.

The portal is full of deals, discounts and cashback offers for a wide range of high street stores and online vendors to use in conjunction with the Boxing Day sale.
This means your savings could be doubled or in some cases, tripled!

There’s absolutely no catch – all you need to do is, save this image and email it to your manager or HR department with a link to this article.

Through the scheme, you can purchase gift cards at up to 10% cheaper, access discount codes to top up your savings and receive cashback on your purchases, leaving you fully prepared for the upcoming sales! 

We knew there was a good reason why the Christmas break hadn’t started yet!

For more information on the scheme, visit – www.busybeesbenefits.com/retaildiscounts  

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Another way for SMEs to retain their staff

Midlands-based employee benefits provider, Busy Bees Benefits has extended its current Car Leasing offering to smaller businesses. Until now, the company’s car leasing salary sacrifice scheme was only available to larger businesses employing over 1,000 members of staff. Businesses of all sizes can now take advantage of the scheme and the National Insurance savings that follow.

The benefits firm, which works with public and private sector businesses, made the move as part of a process to help smaller businesses with staff recruitment and retention issues. The Car Leasing scheme allows employees to sacrifice or exchange salary for a fully funded car. The scheme can save employees up to 45% on motoring costs when combined with some of the latest cars on offer. Employers save £200 National Insurance contributions per car taken out on the scheme.

“Salary sacrifice cars were the second fastest growing benefit of 2014,” commented John Woodward. 

Word is getting around about the scheme’s benefits and the savings that are actually made by putting one of these schemes in place.

“We’ve offered the Car Leasing scheme to larger businesses for a long time – it proved to be a very popular benefit and the feedback we’ve received from current clients has been great. It was only right that we made it available to smaller businesses too.

“Often, smaller businesses are competing with larger businesses in the recruitment market. A great benefits offering can make all the difference when attracting the right staff.

“And of course, once you have them, these types of schemes can help retain them for as long as possible!” he concluded.

Businesses wanting more information on Car Leasing schemes can contact Busy Bees Benefits on 0330 333 9100 or email employer@busybeesbenefits.com for more information.

Festive treat for Lichfield food bank


Employees at Shenstone-based employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits have donated a selection of food to Lichfield food bank, the Trussell Trust. The donation, which is part of the company’s mission to spread the spirit of goodwill, will help those struggling to make ends meet over the Christmas period.

Busy Bees Benefits normally operates by helping businesses improve their employee benefits offerings. The company’s donation will help low income families who struggle to put food on the table this December.

“The Christmas season is a busy one full of family gatherings, food and drink and the much anticipated festive parties,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. 

“Unfortunately, not everyone is able to celebrate some of the joys the festive season brings due to a lack of money. 

“We wanted to help those on low incomes this Christmas and we felt that donating to the Trussell Trust was the best way to do so. 

“We have all heard the news about the growing use of food banks in United Kingdom. Despite the UK being one of the richest countries in the world, families still go hungry every day as a result of redundancy, welfare delays or being a low income worker.

”Two years ago, Trussell Trust food banks provided emergency food to 104,084,604 people nationwide. Of those helped, almost 400,000 were children.

“These figures are disheartening and here at Busy Bees Benefits, we felt that we had to do something to help.

“Christmas has historically been the season of goodwill. As an established local business, we have a responsibility to support our local community. After all, everyone deserves to have a good Christmas!”

To find out where your local food bank is situated, click here.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Don’t fall victim to lost productivity

Productivity can be impacted by a myriad of factors including wage levels, infrastructure and transport. A study by Britain’s Healthiest Company, (BHC) has shown that poor employee health results in British organisations losing 23.5 days of productive time per year. Collectively, British organisations are losing a staggering £57 billion per year because of lost productivity. This is due to staff taking sick leave or staff underperforming in the workplace as a result of poor health. Staffordshire based employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits discusses how organisations can avoid falling victim to lost productivity.  

It has become conventional for employees to attend the workplace with an illness. A pressurised workplace combined with higher expectations means it is now unconventional to take sick leave. Whilst this may seem like an admirable trait to organisations, it can lead to lower productivity. Staff members that come into work with an illness are more likely to suffer from exhaustion, thus, resulting in performing poorly at work.

Employee Assistance Programmes help staff deal with physical health and mental health as well as legal and financial issues. The schemes provide an online help system and around the clock telephone counselling services. Whether employees are looking for legal advice on sick leave, advice for managing their illness or tips on how to implement a healthier lifestyle, an EAP scheme can help.

The scheme can also help employers to deal with staff absenteeism and illness. Organisations have more time to deal with other issues, HR departments can put their absenteeism concerns aside and people managers can receive expert advice on how to deal with specific situations like staff illness.

Whilst organisations should always welcome conversations with ill or unhealthy employees, a helping hand from an EAP aids both employer and employee during this busy winter period.


For more information on Employee Assistance Programmes, please visit http://busybeesbenefits.com/employeeassistance or call our team on 0330 333 9100 to develop a greater understanding on how the scheme can facilitate employees productivity. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Prevent January job movers in 2016

“A new job and a better salary” – the exact words you don’t want to overhear from your employees on the topic of New Year’s resolutions. This is perhaps one of the most common New Year’s resolutions going, right up there with losing weight and quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking. As many as 2 in 5 people look for new jobs in January as a result of ‘back to work blues’. If we know January is a month for staff retention concerns, what can employers do to keep employees happy during this busy employment period?



Here, Busy Bees Benefits explains how an up to date and relevant benefits package can excite employees for the January return to work.

After the Christmas period, many employees dread the return to work. This may be for many reasons – the fear of going back to normality, worries about financial issues or irregular sleeping patterns playing havoc with working hours. However, the ‘new year, new start’ attitude is the number one factor for job moves at the beginning of the year.
Employers can prevent this by refreshing their benefits package and rebranding their employer profile ready for the beginning of the year.

Salary sacrifice schemes
Employees who are looking for more money can be helped by a range of money-saving benefits that can be accessed through their current workplace. Often these benefits are a great way of making employees’ pay stretch when a pay rise isn’t available.

Salary sacrifice schemes help staff to make the most of their pay by accessing tax and National Insurance savings. The most well-known of the salary sacrifice schemes on the market is the Childcare Voucher scheme.

Whilst this is a great scheme, there are also plenty of others that help employees save on different expenses by operating in a similar way. If you work out what your employees spend most of their pay on, you can then find out which schemes are best suited to your workforce, thus retaining your staff.

A few salary sacrifice schemes worth noting are car leasing, mobile phones, cycle to work, earn and learn and workplace parking.

All of these schemes also help businesses save money on National Insurance contributions.

Lifestyle schemes
Salary sacrifice schemes are great but they’re not always for everyone. Due to certain financial circumstances, some employees may be unable to use salary sacrifice schemes. However, this does not mean that they should go without.  

If you have employees that cannot access salary sacrifice schemes, there are a range of other options available. The small cost of these schemes can either be covered by the staff members who require them or funded by your business.

Examples of these schemes include; retail discounts – a scheme that gives employees access to exclusive discounts and offers on everyday purchases, car care – a scheme to help employees manage vehicle maintenance and will writing – a service that helps employees create a will at a discounted price.

Don’t lose faith in the value of a great benefits package just because salary sacrifice isn’t feasible for all of your employees. Make sure you do your research on alternative benefits.

Blue Monday
Ah, the day we’ve all been avoiding – Blue Monday. This is thought to be the most depressing day of the year, falling on the third Monday of January.

According to research, a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills hits employees particularly hard on this day of the year. The effects of Blue Monday don’t just disrupt employees either; they also affect employers too – with as much as £93billion expected to cost businesses as a result of lost productivity.

Prepare for the expected levels of depression by initiating an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). These schemes help employees deal with everyday issues by providing an online help system and around the clock telephone counselling services. The confidential service aims to help resolve personal and professional problems that often impact behaviour in the workplace.

Through an EAP, staff can receive expert advice and guidance on topics such as stress, depression, relationship difficulties, bereavement, and anxiety as well as legal and financial concerns.

This means that any Blue Monday style negativity can be nipped in the bud with a single email or conversation with staff. “Are you feeling the effects of Blue Monday this morning? Don’t forget to use our EAP scheme if you need advice or simply someone to talk to today.”
Blue Monday might be a force to be reckoned with but you can certainly do something to help put negative thoughts at bay.

New year, new start
The ‘new year, new start’ attitude may be number one factor for job moves, but that doesn’t mean to say their new start has to be elsewhere.

Your business can be perceived as a new place to start, after rebranding with the correct benefits and internal communications strategy. By boosting your employer profile and refreshing your benefits package, you’ll not only retain key staff, but you’ll also attract potential employees in the event of a retention disaster.

Once you have your new benefits in place, it’s essential that you work with your benefits provider to establish marketing materials to work with your communications plan.

The New Year encourages the ‘new start’ mind-set so show your employees that you’re willing to give your benefits package a new start too. You might find that the threat of lost employees is reduced significantly.   


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Employee health: fulfil your responsibility as an employer

All organisations have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. In addition, organisations also have an obligation to reduce or remove anything at work that could make employees ill. Staffordshire based employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits discusses how organisations can fulfil their obligations to their staff and in turn, facilitate their employees’ health and wellbeing.

Every two minutes a worker in the UK is made ill due to stress at work, according to research by the Trades Union Congress, (TUC). 11.3 million working days are lost as a result of workplace stress and it accounts for 39% of all work-related illness. Workplace stress can have an adverse impact on employees’ workplace performance and morale. Furthermore, organisations can suffer from increased sickness, absenteeism, staff turnover and reduced productivity.

Employee Assistance Programmes help staff deal with mental and physical health as well as legal and financial issues. The schemes provide an online risk assessment system and around the clock telephone counselling services from licensed and trained professionals. Whether employees are looking for advice on how to manage workplace stress or they want to see if they are at risk of developing an illness, an EAP scheme can help. Employees need not worry about using the service as organisations are not alerted when employees use the service.

Organisations can benefit in a variety of ways such as, reduced absenteeism, increased staff morale and an enhanced recruitment profile. In addition to this, they will also receive information on how to handle a stressed workforce. A scheme like this allows managers to spend less time counselling staff while employees can receive tailored support from the appropriate professionals.

For more information on Employee Assistance Programmes, please visit http://busybeesbenefits.com/employeeassistance or call our team on 0330 333 9100 to develop a greater understanding on how the scheme can help workplace stress. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Pedalling in the right direction: Why Cycle to Work is a year-round benefit

It may be getting a little darker, the roads may be a little busier and the weather may be changing, but if you think your employees won’t use a Cycle to Work scheme this winter, you should think again. This is all according to a provider of HMRC’s Cycle to Work scheme - Busy Bees Benefits - which claims that the change of season has not impacted uptake with its current clients. John Woodward, the company’s CEO explains why Cycle to Work is a year-round benefit.


Employees that already cycle to work will often choose to continue their commute this way. And there’s a good reason for this – those that continue cycling through the winter are able to maintain their fitness and take advantage of winter savings.

The winter months bring great benefits. In fact, the BBC states that October is actually the best time to purchase a bike due to the reduced price on older stock, which is usually released in August and September. These savings, combined with the tax and National Insurance savings of a Cycle to Work scheme, can reduce the cost of a new bike significantly – making winter the perfect season for cycling.

Winter months are known to bring extra expenses – Christmas, warmer clothing, heating bills and much more. Employees that save money on transport and the costs of running a car by cycling to work aren't likely to want unnecessary costs in the more expensive seasons of the year.

The mistake employers often make is assuming that the colder weather and darker skies will discourage employees to cycle to their workplace. However, this is not true. There are many cyclists that take on a winter commute by using accessories and equipment to aid their winter journey. Cycle to Work schemes help your employees with the cost of these bikes and winter equipment to stay safe and warm on the roads.

For example, employees that use the Busy Bees Benefits Cycle to Work scheme save up to 42% on a new bike as well as receiving up to £60 worth of free accessories. Things like cycling boots, gloves, under-helmet hats, lights, mudguards and puncture kits can all be purchased under the scheme’s offering.

Of course, all companies are different. Whilst there are those with employees who are committed to cycling, there are also those with staff that prefer alternative commutes. Employers that believe Cycle to Work only benefits commuters in the summer should conduct a staff survey to gain a reliable insight.

Providers of the Cycle to Work scheme should be able to help with this. Remember to ask for as much information on the scheme as possible. At Busy Bees Benefits, we provide emails to gauge interest with staff as well as any bespoke marketing materials requested by the client.

Once you've committed to offering a scheme in the winter, your next priority should focus on your business savings. It’s common knowledge that Cycle to Work helps your business save on National Insurance contributions. However, if it’s not communicated with your staff regularly, those savings may be non-existent. Put simply, the more up-take on your scheme, the more business savings to be made. Ensure that you are working hand in hand with your provider to communicate the scheme to your staff. The last thing you want is for your employees to satisfy their winter cycling purchases on the high street.

It may be colder, darker and busier on the roads but employees aren't as willing to dismiss cycling as quickly as you may think. Many of our clients continue to promote their Cycle to Work scheme during the colder seasons and orders regularly come in from employees who want to make savings on their bikes. The question isn't whether winter is a good season for the Cycle to Work scheme; it’s who you should choose as your scheme provider.


And of course, if you need help with the answer – Busy Bees Benefits is available on 0330 333 9100 or employer@busybeesbenefits.com.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Taking care of a winter workforce

Winter is coming and the cold weather is creeping upon us. Whilst many organisations look forward to the opportunities that the coming season brings, a HR disaster looms for employers that aren't proactively taking care of their staff. According to employee benefit provider Busy Bees Benefits, an Employee Assistance Programme is the best way to beat absenteeism, employee stress and workplace tension this winter.

Cold and flu, snow disruption and money troubles are all common issues for employees during the winter. In the run up to Christmas roads become busier, personal finances become more difficult to manage and stress becomes more prominent in the workplace. And if that isn't enough - illness, holiday requests and Blue Monday are all waiting to strike once the festive season is over.

This season is certainly not the time for doom and gloom. Employers can ensure that winter remains the season of good will by providing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to help employees manage their well-being.

Employee Assistance Programmes help staff deal with mental and physical health as well as legal and financial issues. The schemes provide an online help system and around the clock telephone counselling services. Whether employees are looking for advice on managing their finances over Christmas, searching for their nearest flu vaccination centre or need counselling on stress-related illnesses, an EAP scheme can help.

The scheme can also help employers during the busy winter period. Businesses have more time to deal with other issues, HR departments can put their absenteeism concerns aside and people managers can receive expert advice on how to deal with specific situations.

Whilst organisations should always welcome conversations with stressed or unhealthy employees, a helping hand from an EAP aids both employer and employee during this busy period.

Before winter arrives, businesses should work out whether an EAP can help combat common HR issues. This season is about fun and festivities; don’t let it become overcast by poorly managed employment issues. 


For more information on Employee Assistance Programmes, please visit http://busybeesbenefits.com/employeeassistance or call our team on 0330 333 9100 to develop a greater understanding on how the scheme can help during the winter.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Salary sacrifice – the new iPhone’s best kept secret

FoMo is an acronym you might not have heard of, but it’s a feeling you’ve definitely experienced. The phrase stands for the fear of missing out and common experiences occur when a brand new smartphone launches. For example, the price of the new iPhone on the high street isn’t cheap, but somehow Apple users believe their current handset is now a little inadequate. For anyone suffering from FoMo as a result of the new iPhone 6s release, now might be the time to consider a salary sacrifice method when purchasing a new handset.   
  
According to John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits, salary sacrifice schemes are the best way to reduce the cost of your mobile phone bill. Although the schemes are little known due to the hype that takes over on the high street, they are definitely worth investigating. Woodward explains the benefits below.

High monthly costs + small tariff allowances = excess charges
From the very minute Apple broke the news about the new iPhone, fans eagerly awaited for tariffs to appear online. As with any new handset, you can expect a large amount of time to be spent looking around for the best price.

However, even though Apple claims to have frozen the cost of the new iPhone 6s, prices for 24 month contracts on the high street are still as high as ever. Handset costs and expensive monthly payments are now combined with small data packages and limitations to text and minute bundles. This makes it even easier to receive excess charges on an already expensive contract.

Salary sacrifice tariffs are deducted from your salary, meaning it’s much easier to get more for your money thanks to tax and National Insurance savings. Mobile phone schemes are also known to provide larger data packages - so for a lower price, you will actually get more in return.

As the price is reduced, you can remove those barriers to text and minute bundles and as for small data packages – well, they can now be a thing of the past.

For example, all of Busy Bees Benefits packages include unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and up to 32GB of data as standard. Other providers’ tariffs will vary.

Is the high street price really worth it?
Put it this way - if somebody offered you £1,800 to spend on whatever you like, would your first choice be a mobile phone contract? If you were presented with this figure first hand, we presume you would be thinking more along the lines of a holiday or perhaps towards savings for that big property deposit.

But because high street prices are often disguised with handset costs and other fees, many of us don’t realise the full amount we’re actually spending when taking out a mobile phone contract.  

On scouring the high street for prices on the 128GB iPhone 6s Plus, the total cost of a 24 month contract can reach anywhere up to £1,800. Savings can be as high as 42% when purchasing via salary sacrifice, so that £1,800 cost would actually cost you no more than £1,044* - a significant difference.

When considering the salary sacrifice option, it’s worth noting that not all salary sacrifice providers are the same. Advise your employer to stay away from any mobile phone scheme that requests handset charges as this will be better for uptake of the scheme and your own wallet. The best offerings will provide equal benefits for both employers and employees.

Don’t be afraid to ask your boss – they’ll love the savings just as much!
There are many employers currently offering a mobile phone salary sacrifice scheme and many people purchasing their phones this way at the moment. However, if your employer doesn’t currently have a scheme in place, setting one up is extremely easy and can also help save the business money in National Insurance contributions – so don’t be afraid to ask!

As stated above, prices from different employee benefit providers will always vary, but salary sacrifice prices are likely to be much cheaper than the high street, particularly at a time when a new handset launches.
We’ve become extremely reliant on smartphones these days and although we all feel the need to upgrade as soon as our contracts are up, most of us will still be working to a budget when it comes to our favourite piece of technology.

So there you have it – the secret is out! If you want the latest smartphone, but you find the thought of paying nearly £2,000 frightening, now is a great time to speak to your employer about offering a scheme. You might find that the next time you experience FoMo at the launch of a new handset; it’ll be accompanied with a sigh of relief rather than the usual panic of extortionate prices.


For more information on tariffs or business savings, please contact mobile@busybeesbenefit.com or call their customer services line on 0330 333 9100 between 8am and 6pm. 

·     *Price based on a higher rate tax payer. Basic rate tax payers would pay no more than£1,224 on the Busy Bees Benefits Mobile Phone scheme.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Gain Access to Great Savings on the Apple iPhone 6s And 6s Plus

The highly anticipated iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have now been released. These new models have a lot to live up to as its predecessors, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, have broken industry records. In the second quarter of 2015, an astounding 61.2 million units of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were sold. The enhanced iPhone 6s and 6s Plus contains a ton of new features which certainly live up to the hype. 

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are available in colours silver, space grey, gold and a new stunning rose gold addition. Furthermore, the models are constructed from a new alloy of 7000 Series aluminium which is the strongest casing ever used in a smartphone. The cover glass on the smartphones is also the most durable glass ever used in a smartphone. Other notable features of the new handsets include: 
  • An improved 12 Megapixel rear facing camera which eliminates the need for digital cameras. 
  • The front facing FaceTime HD camera now stands at 5 Megapixels and includes an impressive Retina Flash. Now there will be no more poor quality selfies taken at night time!
  • Brand new 3D Touch feature allows you to move around the phone quicker. The “peek and pop” feature gives you the ability to peek at an incoming email without fully opening the email message.
  • Enjoy the super-fast performance with the custom designed A9 chip which delivers performance once only found in desktop computers. 
Technology experts are predicting that the range of new features and improved technology will see many Android users defecting to Apple.

The Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are now available to order on the Busy Bees Benefits Mobile Phone scheme. Taking out a mobile phone contract through this scheme can provide you with significant savings every month.  Operated through salary sacrifice, your monthly mobile phone bill is taken directly from your wages before tax and National Insurance is calculated. For example, the Apple iPhone 6S, 16GB model with 32GB of data would originally cost £75 per month. Under the scheme, the amount actually paid each month would only be £51, providing savings of over £576 during the contract. 

How can you take advantage of these fantastic savings?  Firstly, your employer needs to be offering a mobile phone scheme. You can then choose from the latest smartphone handsets and select a tariff to suit your individual needs. As standard each tariff includes unlimited minutes and texts, no handset charges, 2GB data, 24-month extended handset warranty (compared to the usual 12 months), no price increases over the contract period and 4G coverage for no additional charge.

If you would like to take advantage of excellent tariffs, brand-new smartphone handsets and great tariffs, ask your employer to offer the Mobile Phone scheme. Alternatively contact Busy Bees Benefits with your employer’s details at mobile@busybeesbenefits.com or call 0330 333 9100.

For more information, visit www.busybeesbenefits.com/mobilephones

Monday, 21 September 2015

Benefits firm launches new employee wellbeing service

Staffordshire employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits has launched an Employee Assistance Programme to help businesses obtain a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. The brand new health and wellbeing benefit sits alongside the company’s current offerings, which include Childcare Vouchers, a mobile phone salary sacrifice service and a retail discounts portal.


The Employee Assistance Programme helps employees deal with everyday issues by providing an online help system and around the clock telephone counselling services. The confidential service aims to help resolve personal and professional problems that often impact behaviour in the workplace.

Through the service, staff can receive expert advice and guidance on topics such as stress, relationship difficulties, bereavement, anxiety, family worries, alcohol and drug abuse, employment and financial concerns.

“Often personal issues can become significant barriers to career progression,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. “Our new scheme aims to remove these barriers and send staff on their way to great achievements at work.

“We all go through difficulties at some point in our lives – whether it’s financial issues, legal issues or even every day health issues, the support provided by the programme’s medical professionals helps to point staff in the right direction. The service is completely confidential so employees can feel comfortable when accessing the help they need.

“It’s really simple to monitor the success of the scheme as statistical information is passed back on to the employer regularly. Increased staff retention, a boost in recruitment profile and better workplace relationships are just a few of the improvements noted by employers currently using an Employee Assistance Programme.

“If your business is in need of a benefit to boost productivity, reduce sick days and help boost motivation, the Employee Assistance Programme is the perfect fit!” he concluded.

The Busy Bees Benefits Employee Assistance Programme is available to businesses of all sizes. To receive more information on the company’s new offering, call 0330 333 9100 or send an email to information@busybeesbenefits.com.

Childcare Vouchers are not just for nurseries

Many parents will now be breathing a sigh of relief, as children have officially returned to school. However, the return to school is not super smooth for all parents. The normal school day does not fit in with all parents as more working parents are commuting to work and working longer hours. There is an increasing need for the school day to be more flexible and more in sync with working parent’s schedules. This problem can be solved by using before and after school clubs.

To make using before and after school clubs affordable, working parents can use Childcare Vouchers. There are a lot of myths surrounding Childcare Vouchers, one of them being that they can only be used to pay for nurseries and young children. In reality, Childcare Vouchers can be used to pay for any registered childcare provider for children up to the age of 16*. They can be used to pay for school clubs, nannies, au pairs, child-minders, nurseries and more. Furthermore, Childcare Vouchers can also be used for holiday camps in the October half term period.

Childcare Vouchers are a simple way that working parents can save on the cost of childcare. It’s just a matter of swapping a part of their salary for Childcare Vouchers, which are non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance contributions. If parents take the full amount of vouchers available to them, currently £55** per week, this can save a working parent £933** each year, depending on their individual circumstances. With soaring childcare costs, childcare vouchers are a valuable tool and offer busy working parents a myriad of childcare options.

The Government’s new Tax-free Childcare scheme has been delayed until 2017. Therefore, Childcare Vouchers are the best option for working parents to save money on their childcare until then.


Parents, whose employer doesn’t offer a Childcare Voucher scheme, can contact Busy Bees Benefits who will get in touch with their employer to set up a scheme. For more information about Childcare Vouchers and the savings they provide, please visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Public sector employees can retain their position by learning English on the job

Staffordshire business, Busy Bees Benefits says public sector workers may not have to lose their jobs in the wake of a new language policy to be introduced in September. The company, which specialises in employee benefit schemes, says that members of staff could be given more time to improve their skills can use an Earn and Learn scheme to help retain their jobs.

The new legislation states that employees in customer-facing roles must hold English language skills equivalent to GCSE grade C or above. This will affect police officers, social workers, teachers, teaching assistants, Jobcentre Plus workers and council employees as well as employees in the NHS and Armed Forces.

Among these workers will be those who have worked in the sector for years and have proved their worth since the day they were appointed. These employees could be offered the time to improve, but whether they can afford further training is another matter. The cost of qualifications are often expensive, employees will need to access savings on the cost of this new requirement.

“Public sector employers should help their staff save money on the cost of GCSE English by using the Earn and Learn scheme,” commented John Woodward. “The real barrier for employees is the cost of the qualification. It’s all good and well offering time, but if employees simply can’t afford the cost of training, they may be left in a sticky situation.

“In the current climate of austerity, it is difficult for public sector organisations to fund their employees taking this qualification. Therefore, the Earn and Learn scheme will provide help for employees struggling to meet the cost.

“On the scheme, employees are able to exchange part of their salary for training, meaning tax and National Insurance savings can be made on the sacrificed amount. Basic rate tax payers can save up to 32% during a 12-month period and higher rate can save up to 42%.

“All costs relating to tuition, travel, accommodation and substance can all be paid for under the scheme - cutting the cost of this essential training considerably. 

“Employers can save themselves an unnecessary HR disaster and make National Insurance savings at the same time. The Earn and Learn scheme is the perfect solution to the new legislation,” he concluded.

The new legislation is set to commence from September and is said to be rolled out across England, Scotland and Wales, however details on the plans for Scotland and Wales are yet to be confirmed.

For more information on accessing the Earn and Learn scheme, employers and employees are invited to contact Busy Bees Benefits on 0330 333 9100 or on information@busybeesbenefits.com

Friday, 7 August 2015

Top 10 ways to get smartphone data savvy

It’s no secret that exceeding your monthly data allowance can be expensive. On the high street, unlimited data packages are hard to come by - leaving your monthly bill at risk of excess charges. These days, smartphones use data without us even realising, here mobile phone employee benefit provider, Busy Bees Benefits lists its top ten ways to remain data savvy on your monthly mobile phone bill:

1. Close apps when you’re no longer using them

This may be the most important step to take in order to save your data consumption. Leaving applications open allows your phone to consume data for no reason. IOS will only allow an application to carry on using data for ten minutes after it’s closed. You can only imagine how long they can continue to use your data when left open in the background!

2. Disable geo-location services

Any app that uses your location – think Groupon, Facebook messenger or Google Maps – will constantly search for your whereabouts in order to keep its content relevant and up to date. Disable anything unnecessarily searching for your location in the background to avoid excessive charges.

3. Disable auto-play on social media videos

Those hilarious videos on your Facebook news feed are not quite so funny when you look at the data they consume. If your Facebook app is automatically playing videos or gifs before you even open them, this may be one of the causes of your data problem. However, this is an easy fix - head to your device settings to make sure the only videos downloaded are the ones you choose to watch! Make sure you amend Instagram and Twitter settings as the problem is apparent here too.

4. Use settings to set limits on your data usage

Android users are able to set limits and receive alerts when they’re dangerously close to going over. This is a pretty smart feature that is already on the phone so get clued up on how to use it! As an extra precaution, switch off your 3G so that if your WiFi signal drops out, it doesn’t automatically use your data.

5. Cut down on streaming

Whether it’s YouTube, Spotify or Netflix – try to avoid streaming anything outside of a secure WiFi connection. It’s unclear how much data that streaming can use at any one time, but according to various network providers it can be anything between 120-350mb/per hour.

6. Battery usage = data usage
Noticed your battery going down more than usual? Take note of what you’re using your phone for as battery usage is closely associated to data usage. Put simply, if your battery is being drained significantly, you’re probably using a lot of data.

7. Download a better internet browser

Browse your app store for alternative internet browsers. Google Chrome and Opera have features that enable you to compress web pages into a smaller size, allowing you to download smaller amounts of data. Images are smaller and only as detailed as they need to be — your phone doesn’t need the same high-resolution you would need on a desktop PC.

8. Disable unwanted push notifications

Do you really need Angry Birds or Candy Crush asking you to come back and play every day? Cut out the push notifications you don’t need and reap the benefits in your data allowance. Head into your settings and make sure you have switched off all the notifications you don’t need.

9. Ask your employer to introduce a mobile phone salary sacrifice scheme

Not only will you reduce your monthly cost by up to 42%, the data packages are often much larger than those you’d receive on the high street. Users of the mobile phone salary sacrifice scheme provided by Busy Bees Benefits can opt for data packages as large as 32GB, making it increasingly more difficult to exceed your data limit.

10. Download a data manager app


If you’re still unsure where all of your data is going, download a data manager app and organise your usage that way. There are plenty of free applications available that will tell you where and when your data is being used.

Two thirds of employees don’t plan ahead for vehicle maintenance costs

At some point in our lives, an unfortunately-timed mechanic bill will make its way into our hands. With the cost of vehicle repairs increasing, employee downtime as a result of car trouble is the last thing a business needs.

And this type of downtime is happening far too often according to Staffordshire employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits. The company has released an infographic detailing the hassle of unexpected car trouble. The infographic has a particular focus on the impact it has on work-life - revealing that less than 15% of employees have vehicle warranty in place to cover maintenance costs.

Consequently employers in areas with insufficient public transport are most at risk, as employees struggle to travel into work.

With research supplied by Which? Car Survey, AM-Online and Consumer Reports, the infographic perfectly summarises the fact that employees are failing to plan ahead for the cost of vehicle maintenance. With two thirds admitting that they don’t plan ahead for the unexpected expenses.


However, all is not lost. The Car Care scheme offered by Busy Bees Benefits can help to eliminate the high costs of vehicle maintenance by up to 50%. The scheme covers servicing, MOTs, repairs and new tyres and is free of charge for employers to offer to their staff.

Employees who wish to take part in the scheme pay a one off annual fee and receive access to over 16,000 approved garages. As part of the service, technical experts are on hand to speak to the garages on their behalf, ensuring only fair prices are paid and no work is undertaken without prior permission. Employees also get a personalised 'myGarage' website area where they can keep track of their savings, print their service history and enter their MOT information in order to receive annual reminders.

“Our aim is to help remove the expense and hassle out of maintaining your car,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. “It’s evident that there is a real problem with planning ahead for car maintenance costs and employers often suffer for it.  

“The Car Care scheme enables employees to look after their car in a cost-effective way. Employees receive reminders for MOTs, whilst advisors handle booking and payment arrangements for them.

“The scheme reduces the risk of downtime as a result of absenteeism or lateness. Employees are happy and the workforce is more productive,” he concluded.


Anybody interested in the scheme can contact Busy Bees Benefits on 0330 333 9100 or on employer@busybeesbenefits.com.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Five reasons why cycling to work beats your average gym membership

Expensive contracts, annoying machine hoggers and exercise classes held at the wrong times – these are all part and parcel of your average gym membership. We all know that exercise is good for us, but you may find yourself wondering if there’s another way to stay healthy without all of these irritating add-ons that seem to appear when you sign up to your local gym.

The simple answer to this is yes, according to Staffordshire employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits. The company says that the HMRC-backed Cycle to Work scheme is an extremely simple way to get in your daily exercise without having to deal with some of the frustrating gym tendencies that act as part of your monthly membership bill.

The scheme is a salary sacrifice service, which helps employees afford the cost of a brand new bike and cycling accessories. It helps employers save on National Insurance contributions and achieve CSR objectives, whilst employees save up to 42% on the cost of a new bike.

Here, the company lists its reasons why the Cycle to Work scheme may be a better fit for those whose exercise is compromised by cost and time:

1. Control your own fitness plan
By cycling to work, not only do you save yourself the interruptive sales pitch from a personal trainer, you also are able to manage your exercise at your own speed. Perhaps, you want to take the longer route to work today, this is now easily done as you are the only person in charge of your new fitness regime.

Of course, if you are able to take on the gym as well as cycling to work, this is now completely your decision. There’s no need to feel guilty for missing a session if your new commute to work helps you achieve the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week*.

2. Save a considerable amount of money
If you chose to cycle to work as your sole exercise routine, not only would you save yourself the gym membership fees, but you’d also save on your travel costs for your new commute to work. Fuel receipts, public transport tickets and taxis can all be a thing of the past with your new bike, enabling you to push your salary even further.

3. Fit it into your daily routine
Well, put it this way – you’re going to have to make the journey to work anyway, so why not better yourself and the environment at the same time? By doing this, you are buying yourself more time to spend with friends and family outside of work while remaining healthy simultaneously.

4. Career development
Statistics prove that healthier employees are 3 times more productive than employees in poor health. Employees that exercise on a daily basis are more alert during work hours and less likely to get tired during the workday. So that promotion you’ve been working for might just get that little bit closer!

5. Feel happier
It’s no secret that exercise makes us happier, but when you combine this with the sun’s Vitamin D levels - you have the perfect potion for personal wellbeing. A recent YouGov survey highlighted that one in four people believe Cycle to Work is the best benefit an employer can offer.

“There are many great reasons why you might consider a healthier lifestyle,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. “The gym does work for some people, but for those that struggle to fit it in their schedule or can’t justify the price of membership, Cycle to Work is perfect.

“Depending on your weight and exertion level per journey, cycling to work could burn between 75 and 670 calories**. Even after you have finished your journey, you will continue to burn calories for a few hours whilst your muscles recover.

“If the average employee, working 5 days a week, spent at least 30 minutes a day cycling to work, they’d achieve the recommended amount of physical activity easily.

“The scheme suits both employers and employees alike,” he concluded.

Notes
*http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx
** http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/calories/burning_calories/cycling-burns-calories.htm


Friday, 17 July 2015

Summer savings for your employees

The costs of mobile phones have rocketed since the very first handset came out in 1973. Since then, IOS and Android have dominated the consumer market and these days, we simply cannot live without a handset by our side. Unfortunately, the latest smartphone can set you back quite a bit - customers are spending anywhere up to £90 per month – and that’s without the upfront handset cost! 


Employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits has launched its summer offers for mobile phones. The company operates a salary sacrifice service, which saves employers the cost of National Insurance and employees, the tax and National Insurance on the cost of a monthly phone bill. Users of the scheme can now save up to £756* over a 24 month contract with incomparable monthly prices to the high street.

The summer offers include all of the latest handsets, from the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to the iPhone 6 Plus. Prices start from as little as £19.14 to the largest package at £51.  

The savings haven’t gone unnoticed by Busy Bees Benefits customers, who expressed their satisfaction in a recent customer survey. Emma Moore, Accounts Manager at InFX Solutions said: “Our employees that use the Mobile Phone scheme are very happy! One employee asked his network provider to beat the prices that Busy Bees Benefits offers for his contract renewal and they admitted they couldn't get close.”

Under the scheme, if an employee opted for the iPhone 6 64GB with 8GB data, this would cost them £51 per month, however after they have made savings through their salary; it would only cost them only £34.68 per month with no handset cost. Compare this to the same handset on the high street with EE, with 5GB data allowance, this would cost £46.99 per month plus £119.99 handset cost*, employees would save £415.43 over the 24-month contract.

If looking after your finances and saving money where you can is on your priority list, speak to your employer about offering a salary sacrifice mobile phone scheme to enable you to make substantial savings on your personal mobile phone. If you would like Busy Bees Benefits to contact your employer on your behalf, send an email to mobile@busybeesbenefits.com.


For more information about how you can save money through your employer, visit www.busybeesbenefits.com