Case Study: Freshfields spreads the word

Since law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer introduced a salary sacrifice car scheme last July, 18 employees have signed up, with two more in the pipeline. Adam Brooke, the firm’s employee benefits manager, says: “At the moment, take-up is still fairly low, but the word is spreading. For example, we now have three in one department, so people are beginning to talk about it. We are hoping to get around 30 cars in the scheme during the year.”

The scheme, provided by Tusker, is bolted on to the company’s existing flexible benefits plan, Benefits Plus, (provided by Vebnet) and is available to all 1,800 staff.

“Communication is very much the key,” says Brooke. “For example, our flex scheme has an annual enrolment window, which means staff cannot change benefits for a year after they sign up. So although if someone goes on maternity leave or long-term sick leave we do say we will cover the cost, it is important that employees understand what they are committing themselves to.

“Also, if they leave the firm within nine months of signing the agreement, we require them to cover the cost of early termination.”

It took Freshfields three months to finalise all the details for the scheme, including getting internal sign-off from finance.

“It is important you have clear procedures in place,” says Brooke. “With us, there is close co-ordination between the employee, HR, payroll and Tusker beforehand about the choice of car and the whole process.”