WESC Foundation launches salary sacrifice car scheme

Visual impairment services organisation the WESC Foundation has introduced a salary sacrifice car scheme for its 240 Devon-based employees.

The organisation launched the Lifestyle Lease scheme, provided by Maxxia, in June 2017 in order to extend the range of benefits available to staff.

The scheme enables the lease agreement to be made directly with employees rather than the employer, meaning that staff can continue the lease agreement if they change jobs, either through their new employer or privately.

The car scheme includes a range of support services alongside the provision of a new car. This includes all servicing, fully comprehensive car insurance, a tyre policy, all automotive glass, annual road fund licence, and breakdown and recovery assistance.

To gain access to the company car scheme, staff register via the WESC Foundation-branded Lifestyle Lease portal. The portal features a frequently asked questions section and a live chat function to answer any queries employees might have, and to support employees in the decision making process.

The organisation communicated the new scheme through a variety of channels, including an electronic newsletter, staff emails, on-site posters, and a benefits roadshow.

The government limited the range of benefits that attract tax advantages when offered through a salary sacrifice arrangement in April 2017. The salary sacrifice arrangements, referred to as optional remuneration arrangements, that fall within the scope of the changes are benefits in kind (BIK) with a cash allowance option and flexible benefits schemes with a cash option. If an employee selects a benefit instead of some form of cash pay, the taxable value of the benefit is the greater of the amount of cash pay sacrificed and the taxable value under the normal BIK rules.

The changes will not apply to salary sacrifice company car schemes entered into before 6 April 2017 until 6 April 2021. Ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are exempt from the changes.

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Maureen Biss (pictured), deputy chief executive officer at WESC Foundation, said: “We wanted to provide our employees with a wider array of benefits, including the option to access new cars via an employee benefit car scheme.

“Having looked closely at schemes that were available in the market, we selected [the] Lifestyle Lease as being the most suitable to meet our needs and those of our employees.”