Wage sacrifice: The way it works for workers and their employers

Money remuneration is one option to entice staff and reward them for his or her arduous work – but it surely’s not the one method.

A spread of non-cash advantages within the type of wage sacrifice schemes exist you could reap the benefits of as an excellent incentive to draw and retain staff.

On this article, we break down what your choices are, how they have an effect on tax calculations, and the benefits and downsides for each you and your staff in coming into into these preparations, so you’ll be able to really feel assured in your selections.

Right here’s what we cowl:

What’s wage sacrifice?

Also referred to as wage change, wage sacrifice an settlement between you and your worker to cut back their pre-tax annual wage in return for receiving a non-cash profit, i.e. items or a service.

Mostly employers provide childcare, healthcare, transport, and elevated pension contributions.

These advantages are voluntary and staff are in a position to decide in and decide out of the schemes.

Most wage sacrifice schemes such because the Cycle to Work scheme have to be provided to all staff.

So that you’ll wish to arrange a sturdy HR process to make sure contracts are up to date, and the right info is supplied to payroll.

How does wage sacrifice work?

Earlier than you enter into an settlement, you’ll first have to agree on the money worth of the advantages to make sure the worker is pretty compensated for his or her lack of revenue.

The association should not scale back your worker’s money earnings under the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates.

So you could put procedures in place to cap wage sacrifice deduction and guarantee NMW charges are maintained.

To offer an instance, let’s say your worker’s present contract gives for money remuneration of £40,000 a 12 months with no advantages.

You each agree that for the long run, the worker will probably be paid money remuneration of £35,000 a 12 months, and you’ll pay an extra £5,000 to their office pension scheme.

The worker has sacrificed £5,000 of annual wage to obtain the advantage of an elevated £5,000 employer pension contribution.

What wage sacrifice schemes can be found?


Generally known as the Cycle to Work scheme, in essence, your worker hires a motorcycle for the interval of the settlement. The bike have to be owned by you or a 3rd social gathering.

To simplify the method, there are many scheme suppliers within the UK you’ll be able to register with, and the worker will deal immediately with them in selecting the bike they need.

There’s no restrict on the worth of the bike underneath the scheme, except you resolve to cap it.

On the finish of the rent interval there are just a few choices for the worker:

  • Enter into a brand new settlement to rehire the bike
  • Purchase the bike from the scheme
  • Give the bike again.


Much like the bike scheme, staff can sacrifice a set quantity of their wage every month in change for a brand-new lease automobile.

The set month-to-month quantity normally contains the important extras that include automobile possession comparable to highway tax, insurance coverage, breakdown cowl, servicing and upkeep.

What you are promoting doesn’t personal the automobile, the worker is solely borrowing it from the lease firm.

The leasing firm stays the registered keeper of the lease automobile, and it’s returned on the finish of the time period.


For workers who participate within the workplace pension scheme, you could contribute a minimal of three% employer contribution, although you’ll be able to select to contribute extra.

One choice to extend contributions is thru a salary sacrifice pension scheme.

It signifies that your employer contributions enhance, besides that they’re actually the worker’s contributions, as a result of their wage is proportionately lowered.

There isn’t a selected restrict to how a lot the worker can sacrifice.

However as we talked about earlier, your worker’s lowered wage has to stay above the nationwide minimal wage.

You additionally want to keep in mind that every particular person can solely contribute a complete of £40,000 to all pension financial savings yearly (that is the case for the 2022/23 tax 12 months; it’s been frozen at this determine for just a few years).

This contains employer contributions, so ensure that the upper contributions from their wage sacrifice doesn’t push them over this.

It’s additionally useful to examine the minimal and most contributions allowed by the pension supplier.

Childcare vouchers

Sadly, this scheme is closed to new candidates (they’ll now entry Tax-Free Childcare), however you’ll be able to proceed to run the scheme for workers who joined on or earlier than 4 October 2018.

Staff who’re a part of the scheme can sacrifice as much as £55 every week of their wage in return for vouchers of the identical worth for use with registered childcare suppliers.

What does wage sacrifice imply for tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions?

As a result of wage sacrifices are deducted from pre-tax wage, this implies staff save revenue tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage on the sacrificed quantity.

Let’s say, for instance, they obtain £350 per week, and £50 of that wage is sacrificed for childcare vouchers of the identical worth. The end result is simply £300 is topic to tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions.

Employer financial savings relate to employer National Insurance rates.

Usually, employers contribute 15.05% to National Insurance and may due to this fact generate as much as 15.05% financial savings on any funds processed by way of wage sacrifice.

For instance, for each £1,000 spent on the Cycle to Work scheme, the typical employer will recoup £150.50.

You additionally want to think about that reporting necessities for non-cash advantages are completely different to these for money earnings.

Typically, advantages have to be reported to HMRC on the finish of the tax 12 months utilizing the end-of-year bills and advantages on-line type.

Benefits of wage sacrifice for employers and staff

As we talked about above, the frequent profit throughout schemes is that staff can reap the benefits of the exemption from revenue tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage on the sacrificed quantity.

Wage sacrifice schemes additionally make high-priced gadgets comparable to a automobile or bike extra reasonably priced by permitting your staff to unfold the fee.

Paying for this stuff in month-to-month instalments that come straight out of their wage is far more manageable than paying one lump sum upfront.

They’ll additionally use these advantages for enterprise and private use.

This implies as an employer, you don’t have to pay enterprise mileage because the worker is not utilizing their private automobile for enterprise journey, in order that they gained’t be claiming enterprise miles.

The identical advantages additionally reward employers as a result of the schemes assist to draw employees and enhance worker retention. As well as, employers save on tax prices as a result of there’s no employer Nationwide Insurance coverage contribution to pay on the portion of sacrificed wage.

Disadvantages of wage sacrifice for employers and staff

As wage sacrifice schemes primarily scale back the worker’s wage, this might affect any credit score or mortgage functions.

It additionally signifies that work-related statutory funds (funds paid by the employer and primarily based on common earnings over a set interval, comparable to statutory maternity pay and statutory sick pay) will probably be affected too.

For a automobile leasing scheme, the worker might want to pay Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax on the finish of the 12 months.

If the leased automobile shouldn’t be an extremely low emission car like an electrical automobile, they may find yourself paying extra on BIK tax than they might save on revenue tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions.

For employers, problems can come up when employees turnover is excessive.

In case your worker leaves throughout the lease time period for a automobile, for instance, the enterprise is left with the continued month-to-month funds, or an early termination cost for ending the lease early.

Wage sacrifice FAQs

Listed below are the solutions to regularly requested questions on wage sacrifice:

Can staff decide in and decide out of wage sacrifice schemes?

Sure, wage sacrifices are voluntary.

If an worker needs to decide in or out of a wage sacrifice association, you could alter their contract with every change. Your worker’s contract have to be clear on what the money and non-cash entitlements are at any given time.

Subsequently, sacrifice preparations are typically in place for no less than 12 months, except the worker experiences a way of life change.

In that case the preparations could be reviewed, then adjusted or faraway from the worker’s contract.

Does wage sacrifice seem on a payslip?

Sure, a wage sacrifice ought to seem on an worker’s payslip.

The sacrificed quantity will probably be proven as a deduction made earlier than tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage are utilized.

Can wage sacrifice be backdated?

No, a wage sacrifice can’t be backdated.

It’s solely legitimate from the purpose you and your worker make the settlement, which is the date their contract is signed by each events.

Can wage sacrifice be necessary?

No, it’s a voluntary discount to an worker’s wage, which have to be agreed on by each employer and worker earlier than it takes place.

Subsequently, you shouldn’t mechanically enrol staff in a wage sacrifice scheme.

The place can I discover extra particulars about wage sacrifice?

The government website covers details about wage sacrifice and what it means for employers and their staff.

There are particulars on quite a few subjects, together with altering the phrases of a wage sacrifice association to what it means for office pension schemes.

You too can communicate to a payroll knowledgeable or an accountant who provides payroll companies.

Last ideas on wage sacrifice

Upon getting the processes set in place, a wage sacrifice association is a win-win for each you and your staff.

Along with tax financial savings and added comfort, they’ll additionally promote good financial savings habits, low emission transport selections, and a more healthy way of life.

As an employer, you don’t have to supply each scheme however think about surveying your staff to search out out which of them they really feel they might most profit from.

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