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

Friday, 3 July 2015

More time to register for Childcare Vouchers

Working parents now have more time to decide which childcare scheme will make them the most savings. This comes as a delay in the Tax Free Childcare scheme is announced, following Supreme Court action, which has now claimed the scheme is indeed lawful.   

The new scheme, which subsidises 20% of a child’s childcare costs, is now expected to launch in early 2017 rather than its original date of autumn this year. This will allow parents more time to sign up to the Childcare Voucher scheme, before the option is unavailable when the new scheme comes into action.

This is welcome news for parents who will be worse off on the Tax Free Childcare scheme. Middle-low earning parents, families with only one working parent, families using childcare for only a few days a week and those who have children in childcare over the age of 12 are all expecting to be hit by the new scheme in 2017. After Tax-free Childcare is introduced, the Childcare Voucher scheme will be closed to new entrants, which means that parents wanting more affordable childcare will only be able to use Tax-free Childcare to make savings.

Research conducted by Childcare Voucher provider, Busy Bees Benefits has found that at least 80% of parents will be better off continuing to use Childcare Vouchers after Tax-free Childcare is launched in 2017. Childcare Vouchers are therefore the answer.

Busy Bees Benefits is offering parents individual assessments of their circumstances to help them decide which scheme will be financially better for their families.

“With Tax Free Childcare, the Government will be subsidising 20% of a child’s childcare, on costs of up to £10,000 per year,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. “Therefore, to get maximum savings, parents must spend £8,000 per child, each year. To get the maximum savings using Childcare Vouchers, parents are only required to spend £2,916 each year.

“Both parents can use Childcare Vouchers; therefore savings could double to more than £1,800 at an outlay of only £5,832 per family to get maximum savings,” he concluded.

To access Childcare Vouchers, employers need to be offering a scheme and employees need to register before 2017. Childcare Voucher provider, Busy Bees Benefits is recommending that all employees have one deduction each tax year to guarantee access to Childcare Vouchers. Providing employees have one deduction, they will be able to remain on the Childcare Voucher scheme until they no longer require it.


Busy Bees Benefits is advising all employers to continue offering Childcare Vouchers to their employees to ensure they can still maximise savings for the organisation as they will continue to save up to £402 per employee on the scheme.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

REVEALED - The current state of parking in the UK

For those of us who don’t have the luxury of free allocated parking at the workplace, finding somewhere safe and cost-effective is a daily struggle. Whether purchasing an annual pass or using alternative means, the cost of parking can reap havoc with your salary, leaving workers considering other job opportunities due to the limit in their budget.

And this problem hasn’t gone unnoticed in some areas of London, where homeowners are renting out their drive space to struggling commuters.

Staffordshire employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits has released an infographic revealing the current state of parking in the UK. The infographic has a particular focus on parking at work - revealing the West Midlands as the worst affected area in the UK, despite London being the most expensive.

Using research supplied by This Is Money, TransportXtra and Chaucer Direct, the infographic perfectly summarises the difficulties commuters face on a daily basis. With one third of British workers claiming that parking is too costly and insufficient, employers are now being urged to take more responsibility when it comes to employee parking conditions.



However, all is not lost. The Workplace Parking scheme offered by Busy Bees Benefits can help to eliminate the high costs of parking by sacrificing a select amount of your monthly salary. Using the scheme, savings can be as high as 42% for employees, whilst their employers save 13.8% on the cost of National Insurance.

“Our aim is to help remove the expense and difficulty of parking in the UK,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. “It’s evident that there is a real problem here and if employers want to keep their staff, they need to help fix it.

“The Workplace Parking scheme enables employees to park at a designated car park no more than 2 miles away from their place of work, thanks to HMRC regulations. This in turn reduces the risk of lateness and absenteeism - and best of all, there’s no need to carry coins around or to keep popping out to top up a parking meter.

“It’s a win-win situation for employers – savings are made, employees are happy and the workforce is more productive as a result. Hopefully, the next time we release an infographic on parking, the situation will have changed drastically for the better!” he concluded.

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