Employee Benefits News - November 2018


Every other month we will be bringing you the latest news from our exciting range of benefit, incentive and reward products. This month, we’re exploring the changing landscape of childcare vouchers and how care-4 can make an impact in new businesses past the deadline. We’re also sharing how employees can increase their Techscheme savings this Black Friday.
 
 

Our relationship with the Cycle to Work Alliance

Cyclescheme (part of the Blackhawk Network Group) are the Founders of The Cycle to Work Alliance (‘the Alliance’). This is a policy coalition comprised of four of the largest providers of the cycle to work scheme (Cyclescheme, Cycle Solutions, Evans Cycles and Halfords). Together, we the Alliance lobby with Government departments to promote the public policy benefits of the scheme – particularly with regards to public health and sustainable transport. In the Autumn 2016 statement, this resulted in Cycle to Work being one of only 4 Employee Benefits to remain fully tax deductible.
 
We are currently driving an update to the scheme guidance supporting the Department of Transport with formatting the guidance to be more user friendly and accessible, address employees who are classed as low earners or just about managing, expanding the inclusive accessories permitted within the guidance and finally liaising with DfT, HMT and HMRC are increasing the limit for eBikes.
The Alliance continues to work with the government to progress the update to the guidance and welcomes its early publication by Spring next year.
 
In other news related to Cycle to Work, through UKactive, a number of fitness industry and health figures have written to the Chancellor calling for Government to widen the cycle to work scheme to cover gym memberships and home memberships schemes.

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Keeping Data Safe

Data security is essential in today’s world for every business irrespective of size. We at Blackhawk Network take this very seriously. Blackhawk Network establishes and maintains a security governance program designed to meet “Best in Class” security practices, including educating and strengthening security awareness. The Company employs an information security team dedicated to ensuring the security and integrity of the Company’s systems, data and the information entrusted to the Company. Blackhawk Network Europe has been certified ISO 27001: 2013 Information Security Management for over 7 years.
 
The Company’s Global Information Security Team (GIS) and Technology is organized into a number of controls: Security Architecture, Security Operations, Incident Response, Threat Intelligence, and Security Governance and Compliance. Our Risk assessment within Blackhawk Network Europe is a continuous forward-looking process that is an important part of the Blackhawk Network Europe Information Security Management system. Our risk assessment approach sets out to proactively identify, assess and deal with risks that could result in a breach of information security.
 
Blackhawk is committed to its compliance with the EU Data Directive and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our dedicated Europe West GDPR Compliance Committee has driven the programme in partnership with our Global Privacy Office to ensure compliance with the GDPR across our international operation, as well as directing our continuing efforts to enhance our maturing privacy programme.
 
The scope of the programme has included governance and accountability, thorough due diligence, vendor/sub processing reviews (including cross-border transfers where applicable), and the creation and delivery of a comprehensive training and awareness campaign across our entire population.
 

Techscheme’s Curry PC World and Apple

It’s that time of year where we see an increase in Techscheme windows opening and new clients coming onboard. Here at Blackhawk Network Europe we have two great retailer partners that offer employees ultimate tech choice; Currys PC World and Apple.
We all know that technology plays a crucial role in improving work / life balance, up-skilling and increasing digital literacy and wellbeing. It is unsurprising therefore that tech is the most requested gift at Christmas. The desire for tech is further fuelled by key players in the market announcing brand-new products in autumn. This includes the Apple iPhone Xs, Apple Watch Series 4, Google Pixel 3, Huawei Mate 20, Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 – all of which are available through Techscheme.

The latest tech comes at a price. Techscheme allows employers to gift affordability and ease to their workforce. Employees can spread the cost of must-have tech interest-free. There’s no upfront payment and employees will save up to 12% on their purchase. And with high profile shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon – the 23rd and 26th November respectively – Techscheme can be used in conjunction with promotions to enhance overall employee saving further.
Techscheme makes it easy for clients to benefit from the best Black Friday deals and save up to 12% on top. Employees simply request a Redemption Code early on the Techscheme website and redeem it at Currys PC World online, in-store or via click and collect during the promotional period, which typically lasts 2 weeks. 


Care-4

4th October 2018 saw the closure of care-4, and all employer supported childcare schemes, to new joiners. This means that new parents or new recruits cannot join and only have the option of the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme, if eligible.

Many employees, however, are better off with care-4 and this was reflected in the huge surge of registrations we saw before the enrolment deadline.
With all the noise in the childcare marketplace, there has been some misunderstanding around what the deadline meant with some care-4 parents believing the scheme would close and they couldn’t continue to benefit from their vouchers and savings after this date.

The good news is that this is absolutely not the case, and it is vital that all employers and parents know that care-4 will continue to provide great savings of up to £933 per year for participants: -
  • - All employees that joined and received payment by 4th October 2018 through care-4 can continue to save on their childcare costs until 1st September following the 15th birthday of their youngest child.  
  • - Any employees that were participating in care-4 and have taken a break of less than 12 months in salary reductions, can re-join the scheme and continue to make savings on their childcare costs provided they have not left their employer and their family did not joined Tax-Free Childcare during this time.
  • - Participants transferred to a new employer under TUPE can continue to benefit.
  • - Employers that are not happy with their current provider, can transition their existing participants over to our care-4 scheme seamlessly at any time.
Please speak to your Account Manager, visit care-4, or contact us for more information.

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Cyclescheme

As the weather turns cooler and nights draw in, you may think that cycle commuters go into hibernation. But a vast number ride whatever the weather and our job is to support these super commuters and ensure their rides are safe, secure and satisfying. 

The first thing we can do is to save winter riders money on all their 'neccessories' (their necessary cycle accessories). Employees can save 25-39% on everything they need to stay in the saddle over winter. This includes lights and reflectors (which are legal requirements), waterproof jackets and overshoes. Just getting accessories via Cyclescheme is not a problem and employees benefit from the same great tax savings as they would when getting a bike. This option is particularly popular with existing cyclists with average Certificate values of between £500 - £640.

In addition to ensuring riders can afford the kit they need, Cyclescheme also creates a wealth of instructional content to help keep riders informed and safe. Employees can read up on how to stay safe and comfortable with the Cyclescheme Commuter Magazine or our 'How-to' blogs. 

Cycleschemers can also enjoy the Black Friday mania and save-on-sale. Selected retailers will accept Cyclescheme Certificates on discounted bikes and accessories, so employees can compound their savings further and, in some cases, achieve saving upwards of 65%! Examples of offers of this magnitude.
 
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