Stephenson Harwood offers electric cars to staff

A law firm is offering its UK staff electric cars as a way of aligning the business with some of the goals of the COP26 climate crisis conference.

Global firm Stephenson Harwood is offering the benefit to its 550 employees in London initially, but hopes to extend the scheme to its 115 London-based partners at a future date.

The firm employs 1,100 people worldwide with eight offices, seven of which are abroad in cities such as Paris and Dubai.

London employees will be able to select from a range of electric vehicles. Insurance, road tax, replacement tyres, routine servicing and maintenance and breakdown cover will be part of the deal.

Staff will pay an, as yet, unquantified fixed monthly amount for the benefit, which, the firm said, represented a better than normal private lease agreement for employees because of the income tax and national insurance savings that it entails.

Money saved by the firm from its national insurance contributions will be put toward other green initiatives, a spokesperson said.

Axel Koelsch, chief operating officer at Stephenson Harwood, said: “We were looking for a way for everyone to be able to participate and do something tangible. Historically, many of the steps law firms have taken on the environment have been either invisible to staff – like heating system optimisation – or tokenistic.

“We know that the key drivers for carbon dioxide usage are buildings and transport. We’re doing a lot of work with our aviation, shipping and rail clients to help them keep goods moving in a sustainable way that aligns with the COP26 goals. Offering our people an accessible and affordable option for leasing an electric car felt like a great benefit to provide.”

Electric company cars are an increasingly attractive employee benefit, as staff not only take advantage of reduced fuel costs, they can also face lower benefit-in-kind taxes.