Siemens axes bikes for work but adds gym membership

Siemens has removed its bikes-for-work scheme from its flexible benefits plan for the latest enrolment period.
It took the benefit out of the scheme following HM Revenue and Customs’ clarification of what constitutes a fair market value at the end of a bicycle’s loan period, which has caused some problems for employers.

Isy Raza, reward consultant at Siemens, said: “There is very little flexibility these days. We had to stop the [bikes-for-work] scheme pending further review.”

For next year’s flex scheme, the company has also introduced discounted gym membership, provided by Incorpore. Siemens first heard about the Gymflex benefit from its flexible benefits provider, Mercer. It then learned more about the perk at the Employee Benefits Live exhibition in London in September.

The benefit, which is available to Siemens’ 16,000 UK staff, offers access to a number of gyms across the UK.

“[Gym membership] seems to be the most current benefit that companies are providing,” said Raza. “Since we are an organisation that operates across the UK, it was advantageous to undertake this proposition. Also, staff are able to call Gymflex and enquire whether they can approach their local gym, so there is some flexibility in it.”

Siemens’ flexible benefits programme runs on a calendar year, so staff are now making their choices for 2011.

Before it opened its election window, the firm ran a poster campaign, offered face-to-face presentations and sent emails to employees.

Raza explained: “We do not sell a specific benefit, but we do make employees aware of anything new or any changes that will impact them, such as new legislation or the terms and conditions of a benefit or provider.”

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