NWG: Smartphone Salary Sacrifice Scheme
NWG operates in the north east of England, where it trades as Northumbrian Water and in the south east of England, where it trades as Essex & Suffolk Water.
The company provides 4.5 million people with sustainable water and waste water services, and its vision is to be the leader within the water industry.
NWG is passionate about being firmly rooted within the communities it serves. This understanding of and commitment to those communities is demonstrated through initiatives such as the employee volunteering scheme, which allows employees at least 15 hours of paid work time per year to support local community initiatives.
NWG firmly believes that the well-being of employees is vital to create and maintain a productive and happy working environment.
This is demonstrated by the wide range of benefits available to employees such as this salary sacrifice phone scheme.
NWG regularly reviews its benefits provision to ensure a great offering to its employees. The benefits package which included childcare vouchers and a salary sacrifice car scheme had already proved very popular.
The Smartphone scheme was highlighted as a benefit that would be attractive to its 3,000 staff. Furthermore, the two-year salary sacrifice arrangement provided substantial savings to the employee with higher rate taxpayers able to save 42% off the price of a phone with the tariff.
NWG had two major aims in offering the benefit:
1. Provide substantial savings to the employee on a new handset and two year tariff
2. To stimulate continued interest in the benefits portfolio across all staff
As an employer, NWG also recognised the benefit of a 13.8% saving of Class 1A National Insurance Contributions on the total amount of salary sacrificed by staff enrolled in the scheme.
Employee Choice, a leading technology benefits provider, offer a range of the latest handsets from manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC, Sony and Nokia, which enabled employees to select their preferred handset when joining the scheme. The handsets are all supplied with a two-year tariff from EE, who were chosen due to their 4G network and excellent coverage throughout the UK.
All phone and tariff options are provided to employees via a dedicated ordering portal for selections to be made. This portal is open 24/7, all year round to ensure employees are able to join the scheme when their existing contracts come to an end. Tariff prices are comparable with the high street meaning the employee is able to recognise the full savings via the salary sacrifice arrangement.
Once orders are placed, the payroll team at NWG approve orders prior to any goods being despatched.
On a monthly basis NWG receive a bill from EE for the total number of employees enrolled in the scheme. The bill increases as new staff join the scheme but is always scheduled after the pay run to ensure the scheme effectively remains cash neutral at all times.
One of the major benefits in delivering the scheme has been the ease of administration. As a busy HR department, NWG rely on the provider handling employee queries and this has proven to be the case with Employee Choice. At the outset, employees were pleased at the savings available through the scheme with standard rate taxpayers saving 32% and higher rate saving 42%. This represents a substantial amount on a two-year tariff and makes a real difference to an employee’s outgoings.
Employees recognise that NWG is giving something tangible back to them and this increases morale.
Benefits Contracts & Payroll Manager, Neil Robson, said:
“Going forward we expect an increasing number of staff to utilise the scheme as more contracts come to an end. We also recognise that with data usage on the increase our employees are likely to find the range offered increasingly attractive.”