East Coast Mainline launches phone scheme

EXCLUSIVE: East Coast Mainline has launched a smartphone and computer scheme for its 3,000 UK employees.

Since its launch in mid-September, 550 staff have taken up the offer. John Hayhurst, head of HR at East Coast Mainline, said: “It has been a real surprise. We knew it was going to be popular, but we didn’t quite anticipate how popular.

“It’s the timing of it that has been quite key, in the run-up to Christmas with people thinking about getting an iPad for the house and having it in time for Christmas.”

Through the scheme, employees can purchase a smartphone, to a maximum cost of £900, via a salary sacrifice arrangement, paid for over two years.

The computer scheme, which includes laptops, desktops and tablets, is available via payroll deduction, without the tax savings of a salary sacrifice arrangement. It is set at a maximum limit of £2,000 and payments are made over three years.

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The scheme is open for employees to take up until the end of October. Hayhurst added: “Rather than have schemes running concurrently, we decided to have one scheme with an application window for employees to apply. We may run another one next year or the year after.”

East Coast Mainline communicated the benefits to employees via a brochure, emails, the company newsletter and a payslip messages.