FREQUENTLY ASKED QUSTIONS

What are Salary Sacrifice, Flexible Benefits and how are savings made?
(click for definitions)

Is there a limit to number of services I use?
Can we change or service benefit solution (salary sacrifice to flexible benefits)?

Childcare Vouchers
Earnings level required.
How do I receive my vouchers?
When do I receive my vouchers?
What if I leave?

BIKES
Employers
Is this a Government scheme?
Yes. Within the Government’s Green Transport Plan, there’s a tax exemption which allows employers to provide cycles and safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. Technically speaking, employees actually hire the bicycles from you, buying them at the end of the salary sacrifice period for a Fair Market Value payment. SPHERE incentives can collect this Fair Market Value payment for you, and arrange competitive finance packages from well known providers.

Employees
Can I get any bike?
You can choose any bike, including electric and folding bikes, providing your chosen SPHERE incentive partner can supply it. Some bike shops may add an administration fee to quotes for custom bikes, because the profit margins are lower than those available on standard, mass-produced models. If your employer wants to supply bikes costing over £1000 (retail price including VAT) then they will need a Consumer Credit Licence, and this costs £725, so many employers limit the package value to £1000.

Who actually owns the bike? What happens if it is stolen?
The bike and goods remain the property of your employer until the hire period finishes, unless your employer uses finance; in this case the finance company will own the bikes during the hire period. At the end of the hire period you may be given the opportunity to buy the bike for a fair market value payment. If the bike gets stolen you will be liable for any outstanding monies without any tax exemptions, so it's very important to make sure the bike is insured. You can obtain safety equipment, including Home Office-approved 'Sold Secure' D-locks and cable locks, as part of the scheme.

What happens at the end of the loan period?
Most employers opt to sell you the bike and accessories, and you will pay the fair market value; this is the amount that a buyer would pay to a seller to purchase the bike and equipment. Each bike is assessed separately, but in our experience the market shows values to be around 5% of the original voucher value plus VAT. The fair market value cannot be stated before or during the scheme as this could be considered a benefit in kind as hire-purchase does not warrant any tax-relief.

What's the process of getting a tax free bike for work through SPHERE incentives?
The scheme uses a voucher system. Once your employer has entered into a contract with SPHERE incentives, you need to sign an employee hire agreement that we supply or agree to the terms of the hire agreement online (this process is determined by your employer). You visit your local bike shop for a quote on a bike and accessories, which you enter onto our extranet system. When we receive the quote we will invoice your company, and provide a secure voucher once the hire agreement is signed. You take the voucher back to the bike shop to collect the bike.

Do I have to use the bike for work?
You can use the bike however you like; a bike purchased under SPHERE incentives should be used for work journeys at least 50% of the time. You don't have to cycle to work for a specified number of days throughout the year and you don't have to record your trips or mileage. You may not claim expenses for business trips made using the bike until the end of the salary sacrifice period.

What's the best way to insure the bike?
Your Household policies are usually the cheapest option but you must ensure that the insurer covers the bike when in storage away from your home, and that the bike's value doesn't exceed the upper claim limit. If the bike can't be covered on your home insurance, let us know and we'll organise/ outsource a provider for you.

Can I get a bike via a mail order specialist?
SPHERE incentives' partner shops are capable of supplying bike packages mail order from their shops, but there are distinct advantages when getting a bike from your local bike shop that will be the first port of call for advice, servicing, after sales and warranty. Some mail-order specialists are not part of the SPHERE incentives Partner network.

Am I responsible for maintaining the bike?
Yes. Your partner shop will be able to advise you about necessary servicing depending on how you use your bike. Many shops offer a free first service.

What happens if I leave my job or I'm made redundant?
The agreement to pay your loan is non-cancellable, so you will be obliged to pay the remaining amount in full, without any tax exemptions. If you opt to take ownership of the bike you may have to pay an increased fair market value.

Benefit Schemes and Packages through a Salary Sacrifice enables National Insurance savings for Employers and both TAX and National Insurance savings to Employees. They are now a very popular solution to increasing moral, employee loyalty, adding value and savings to businesses.

Contact us and register your interest to find out what tailored Employee Incentive Packages we can set up for you.