EXCLUSIVE: Freshfields saves tax and NI through salary sacrifice

Law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has saved its staff £2 million in tax and national insurance over the past 12 months through salary sacrifice, and has revamped its flexible benefits.

This message was used in a poster campaign around the annual enrolment period for its Benefits Plus plan. Jackie Palmer, senior manager, compensation and benefits, said: “The campaign was along the lines of ‘You think you know everything about Benefits Plus…’ with a series of facts.”

Freshfields also revamped its benefits website to align it with its new corporate branding, adding in employee videos, with staff sharing their stories about the benefits choices they have made.

Palmer said: “As part of that, we took the opportunity to make the site much more interactive and user-friendly. We took a lot of the text off the site to lean more towards the benefits providers and their websites, since they are the experts anyway.”

The firm also added in a discounted gym membership, a supplement to its onsite gym provided by Nuffield Health. It added in the new perk after its switch to Axa PPP for its PMI provision. Its previous provider included access to a gym membership, which was being used by 60 staff.

During its three benefits roadshows, which also took place in January, Freshfields offered employees the chance to win an iPad. All staff received a desk drop promoting the roadshows, which they could bring to the event for a chance to win. More than 400 staff turned up to the events.

Freshfields also aligned its holiday year with its flex year, which begins on 1 February.

Over the flex renewal period 1,000 of the firm’s 1,600 employees re-submitted their choices, representing about 60% of the workforce. Palmer said: “Talking to brokers and providers, we learned that four years into the scheme it is quite common for about 30% of staff to actively submit their choices, so that is really positive. I think that has been largely a consequence of the poster campaign.”

Read more about salary sacrifice arrangements