Working from home and benefits in kind

With hybrid working seemingly here to stay it’s important to review your reward package to make sure you’re keeping current and future employees happy with the right benefits in kind. What should you consider about working from home and benefits in kind?

Working from home

With more employees now home-based, benefits in kind centred on the workplace have less attraction, but equally there is the issue of fairness for those that through job role or domestic situation need to be office-based. So, what considerations should be on your radar when evaluating working from home and benefits in kind?

Season ticket loans. With train companies introducing new variants such as carnets do you need to review your level of support?

Works buses. Are these viable any longer with reduced numbers? If you need to continue to offer them to key personnel to get people to an out-of-town site, do you need to begin/increase a contribution from users.

Workplace parking. Would it be attractive to extend this to a wider group of employees now that office occupancy is much reduced, or focus on those who have to be office-based?

Catering. If it’s not viable to continue to offer catering given the limited numbers on site do you need to buy out the benefit or alternatively will home-based workers be expecting some sort of compensatory financial support as they can’t benefit from catering?

Relocation. Is there going to be an upsurge in potential recruits asking for relocation support as they know that they can work more remotely, how does this impact budgets for such support?

Cycle to work. Is the scheme viable any longer if employees can’t meet the qualifying condition of using the cycle mainly for qualifying journeys to work?

Pro advice. If you have to increase the level of a voluntary net pay deduction to cover your costs such as for a works bus this reduces gross pay for national minimum wage purposes, so you may be constrained as to how much you can recover.

Company vehicles and fuel

Pool vehicles. Company car and fuel policies have vacillated over recent years as employers have moved away from cars and replaced them with allowances and then returned to a company car offering but with a restricted pool of electric or low-emission hybrid vehicles to minimise employee tax exposure and the resulting Class 1A NI charge. Lockdown has brought a further set of challenges, as there is much less business travel given the investment in technology solutions rather than face-to-face client visits. Will we see the provision of pool cars/vans becoming the norm for the exceptional client visits that need to be undertaken and a return to car allowances instead?

Fuel scale charge. Lockdown also meant less travel generally so that the already expensive fuel scale charge has become extremely prohibitive and employees will want to make good any private fuel if this has not been a policy previously.

Wellbeing instead?

The pandemic has led many employees to prioritise the work-life balance. Equally, many families have found the last 18 months very challenging both physically and mentally. Employers without health insurance, health assessments and employee assistance programmes may find that their reward spend is better targeted in these areas and away from workplace benefits.

Read more blogs about WFH here.

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