Sickness and absence costs UK industry £12bn each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive. But what if there was a way to improve your employees' health and wellbeing while upping their productivity?
Cycle to Work schemes do just that, as well as adding to an organisation's green credentials. The legislation that covers Cycle to Work schemes was launched as part of the government's Green Travel Plan in the Finance Act 1999, and the scheme was rebranded Cycle to Work in 2005.
"The incentive for employers is the tax break associated with the scheme, but it's a win-win because there are tax breaks for the employee too," explains a spokesperson for the Department for Transport.
In January Ruth Kelly, secretary of state for transport, announced a £140m investment in cycling, including grants for local authorities to improve cycle networks. "The government wants to encourage people to cycle as often as possible," adds the spokesperson. "About a quarter of car trips are less than three miles - a distance that can be cycled in 15 minutes. If these trips were done by bike, it could have a considerable impact on local congestion and pollution, as well as giving people more exercise."
Two wheels good
To cut down on paperwork, most employers use a third-party provider such as Halfords, which was the first bike retailer to offer a service - called Cycle2Work - to facilitate the scheme.
The employer does not incur any cost with a Cycle to Work scheme. Once registered with your chosen provider, the employee can select a bike which you purchase outright. You then receive payment from your employee via the salary 'sacrifice' over a period of time. VAT-registered employers can reclaim the VAT on the bike, and no national insurance contribution is collected for the portion of salary sacrificed.
Since 2002, Halfords has worked with about 3,000 employers getting 80,000 bikes on the road. "Employers are increasingly tasked with reducing car usage and encouraging greener modes of transport. A Cycle to Work scheme can help achiev