EXCLUSIVE: Cisco extends flexible benefits to Spain and targets full European roll-out

Cisco has extended its flexible benefits scheme to its 350 employees in Spain, which included the introduction of a new pension plan and the country’s equivalent childcare voucher scheme.

The company now intends to roll out the scheme, provided by Thomsons Online Benefits, to its other European sites in Norway, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

Sheila Champion, benefits manager – Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Russia at Cisco, said: “The aim is to reduce administration through the use of online benefits enrolment and to create a consistent employee experience.”

The Spanish launch included the introduction of Guarderia vouchers, which allow staff to meet the cost of childcare in a tax-effective way, and a corporate social pension plan (PPSE), which is effectively a group insurance policy with the tax treatment of a pension plan. This will replace an individual pension plan.

Champion added: “It was like a defined contribution (DC) scheme from the point of view of matched contributions, but it was really more like an insurance plan, like the PPSE. There is a charge on it and a guaranteed rate of return for staff, which is negotiated up front.”

Cisco has also raised the cap for employer-matched pension contributions, from Eur7,212 (£6,109) to Eur10,000 (£8,471) a year up to age 50 and to Eur12,500 (£10,590) a year after age 50. Other benefits in the online flex scheme include private medical insurance (PMI), health screening, life assurance, an employee assistance programme (EAP) and a second-opinion medical care programme.

Cisco has also increased its meal allowance for employees in Spain from Eur8 (£6.77) to Eur9 (£7.62) per day. The scheme was communicated through workshops, email and a teaser campaign prior to the launch. Cisco sent out additional information in the lead up to 5 March, when the flex enrolment window closed.

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