Friday, 11 March 2016

Childcare Vouchers & Maternity Leave Clarification

One of the main barriers to providing a Childcare Voucher scheme has now been removed. Here, Busy Bees Benefits tells us why it’s not too late to set up a scheme.

Up until now, employers that provided the Childcare Voucher scheme were advised by HMRC to cover their employees’ Childcare Vouchers in periods where only Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) was paid to the employee. However, a ruling from an Employment Appeal Tribunal on 9th March has stated that this was not a correct interpretation and employers are not required to continue providing Childcare Vouchers in a period where there is no salary to be sacrificed.

In other words, employers will not have to cover childcare vouchers when a member of their staff is being paid SMP only.

Many organisations including small and medium sized businesses may have been deterred from providing a scheme due to the previous advice. Now that the situation has been clarified, employers who previously looked into offering a scheme can take advantage of the NI savings without having to worry about the potential burden of extra costs.

Employers that are now reconsidering the scheme should move fast as the Government will be launching Tax-free Childcare in 2017. This system will be operated by the government without employer involvement so there are no business savings opportunities.

On the other hand, Childcare Vouchers are a well-established employee benefit which can save an organisation up to £402 per employee on the scheme each year; as vouchers can provided without payment of Employers National Insurance contributions.

Once Tax-free Childcare is launched, no new joiners can participate in a Childcare Voucher scheme. Childcare Vouchers will remain in existence for as long as they are required, although only for those already using them. There is urgency for employers to set up a Childcare Vouchers scheme now to maximise their National Insurance savings whilst simultaneously providing their employees with the choice to use whichever scheme provides them with maximum savings.

Setting up and administering a Childcare Voucher scheme is quick and easy. Not only will your employees save money on their childcare costs, their motivation, production and retention will increase. Therefore, offering a scheme can enhance your employer profile.

If you would like to discuss setting up a scheme, please contact Busy Bees Benefits or visit for more information. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Thinking about buying a new car this month? Stop and read this first!

As new number plates fly off the shelves this month, the idea of a hassle-free, shiny new vehicle might be playing on your mind. If it is and price negotiations aren’t your strong point, you might want to consider an alternative method to help bring down the price. According to Busy Bees Benefits, salary sacrifice car schemes can save you nearly half the price and your employer can benefit from the savings too.   

If you're purchasing a new car this month, make sure you speak to your employer first. Salary sacrifice schemes can save you a large amount but do vary on each individual car and each individual person's salary. For example on the Busy Bees Benefits Car Leasing scheme, someone who is paid the average salary of £26,500 per year, would save 26% on a BMW i3 Hatchback - reducing monthly payments from £459.30 to £339.34. These payments also cover MOTs, servicing, tyres, tax and insurance. Make sure you enquire with your HR department to see if a scheme could help with your next car purchase.

“If you’re not a natural born haggler and you’re currently in full time employment, using a scheme like this will help more than ever this month,” explained Jo Dalby, Finance Director at Busy Bees Benefits. “This is due to the peak in car sales, which happen every March and September when new number plates are released. If you go straight to the high street this month, you might find that it is more difficult than usual to negotiate on price.

“However, if you use a salary sacrifice method, the savings can reach anywhere up to 42%, meaning even the best bargain hunters will struggle to get a better deal elsewhere. For those, whose employers aren’t yet offering a scheme, now is a great time to lobby them into doing so as they can save also money on National Insurance contributions,”  

These car schemes mentioned by Busy Bees Benefits allow you to exchange part of your salary for a fully funded car.

"Throughout the scheme, you have monthly payments deducted from your salary and at the end of the lease you have the option to purchase the car, return it or lease a new one. It’s just like leasing a car on the high street, but the salary sacrifice element makes it much cheaper! Often these schemes also offer you a one payment solution that covers everything except fuel!

“A new car doesn’t have to cost you the earth and if you really need to purchase one during the month of March, speak to your employer first!” she concluded.

Busy Bees Benefits is willing to contact employers anonymously for anybody who needs to use a salary sacrifice car scheme. Should you wish for your employer to offer the scheme, head over to to fill in a short form.

Help your employees get a new car during the March rush

Car sales peak in March and September due to the release of the new number plates. As a result, cars with older number plates start to depreciate as they are perceived to be a year old. Many of your employees may be looking forward to the launch of the 16 number plates in March and consequently, considering the ways they can save money.

Offering a car scheme can enable your staff to have a brand-new, low emission car for less and provide your business with access to National Insurance savings, as well as helping with CSR initiatives. Offering a scheme during this popular month for car sales is likely to maximise on uptake, making it the perfect time to put in place.

How the schemes work

Your employees select a vehicle and have monthly payments deducted from their salary for 2-3 years. At the end of the lease, they have the option to purchase the car, return it or lease a new one.

The scheme offers employees a one payment solution that covers everything except fuel. MOTs, servicing, tyres, tax and insurance all covered by the scheme. Any organisation, irrespective of size, can participate in the car schemes and they are often cost neutral to provide. Companies should be aware that all schemes are different and make sure they get the best offering from their employee benefit provider.

Louise Wesley, Operations Director of Busy Bees Benefits, comments; “27% of UK employees state a car incentive scheme as their ideal perk, according to a study by the Institute of Leadership and Management. “This comes as no surprise because purchasing and maintaining a vehicle continues to be very costly for most employees. “Offering a scheme that decreases the cost of buying and owning a car can aid in retention and employee engagement.

“In addition, providing employees with safer, more modern vehicles can help with your duty of care and affords better management of your 'grey fleet' as vehicles are brand-new and fully road legal,” she concluded.