Salary sacrifice: How it works for employees and their employers

ByValerie Winifred

Jul 1, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Income remuneration is one particular way to bring in personnel and reward them for their tricky perform – but it is not the only way.

A array of non-dollars added benefits in the kind of salary sacrifice schemes exist that you can just take edge of as a good incentive to entice and retain workers.

In this post, we break down what your possibilities are, how they impact tax calculations, and the strengths and down sides for equally you and your employees in entering into these arrangements, so you can truly feel self-assured in your possibilities.

Here’s what we protect:

What is salary sacrifice?

Also regarded as salary trade, wage sacrifice an arrangement among you and your staff to reduce their pre-tax yearly wage in return for acquiring a non-money advantage, i.e. products or a assistance.

Most usually employers give childcare, healthcare, transportation, and amplified pension contributions.

These positive aspects are voluntary and employees are able to opt in and opt out of the schemes.

Most salary sacrifice techniques this sort of as the Cycle to Do the job scheme should be provided to all staff members.

So you’ll want to set up a sturdy HR method to ensure contracts are up to date, and the right facts is provided to payroll.

How does salary sacrifice get the job done?

Prior to you enter into an agreement, you will initially need to agree on the hard cash worth of the added benefits to assure the employee is pretty compensated for their reduction of profits.

The arrangement need to not cut down your employee’s funds earnings beneath the National Least Wage (NMW) prices.

So you must set processes in area to cap income sacrifice deduction and be certain NMW rates are maintained.

To give an instance, let’s say your employee’s latest agreement delivers for income remuneration of £40,000 a calendar year with no advantages.

You both of those agree that for the foreseeable future, the worker will be paid out income remuneration of £35,000 a yr, and you will pay an supplemental £5,000 to their workplace pension scheme.

The staff has sacrificed £5,000 of yearly wage to get the advantage of an elevated £5,000 employer pension contribution.

What wage sacrifice schemes are available?


Known as the Cycle to Perform plan, in essence, your worker hires a bicycle for the time period of the arrangement. The bicycle should be owned by you or a 3rd celebration.

To simplify the procedure, there are lots of plan providers in the British isles you can sign up with, and the staff will offer specifically with them in picking the bicycle they want.

There’s no limit on the benefit of the bicycle beneath the scheme, unless you come to a decision to cap it.

At the conclusion of the seek the services of period there are a number of selections for the worker:

  • Enter into a new arrangement to rehire the bike
  • Purchase the bike from the plan
  • Give the bike again.


Very similar to the bike scheme, workforce can sacrifice a preset quantity of their salary each individual thirty day period in trade for a manufacturer-new lease car or truck.

The set every month sum commonly incorporates the crucial extras that appear with car ownership these kinds of as street tax, insurance, breakdown address, servicing and maintenance.

Your business doesn’t have the automobile, the worker is only borrowing it from the lease firm.

The leasing firm continues to be the registered keeper of the lease automobile, and it is returned at the stop of the expression.


For staff members who choose section in the workplace pension plan, you ought to lead a minimal of 3% employer contribution, although you can pick to add a lot more.

1 solution to increase contributions is via a salary sacrifice pension plan.

It suggests that your employer contributions maximize, apart from that they are actually the employee’s contributions, mainly because their income is proportionately minimized.

There isn’t a distinct limit to how a lot the employee can sacrifice.

But as we described previously, your employee’s reduced salary has to continue to be higher than the countrywide minimal wage.

You also will need to bear in head that just about every person can only lead a whole of £40,000 to all pension savings on a yearly basis (this is the situation for the 2022/23 tax yr it’s been frozen at this determine for a number of a long time).

This features employer contributions, so make positive the bigger contributions from their wage sacrifice does not thrust them more than this.

It’s also practical to look at the minimum and highest contributions permitted by the pension service provider.

Childcare vouchers

Unfortunately, this plan is closed to new applicants (they can now obtain Tax-Free Childcare), but you can continue on to run the plan for workers who joined on or in advance of 4 October 2018.

Employees who are portion of the plan can sacrifice up to £55 a 7 days of their salary in return for vouchers of the very same worth to be made use of with registered childcare providers.

What does wage sacrifice mean for tax and Countrywide Insurance policies contributions?

Simply because wage sacrifices are deducted from pre-tax income, this indicates personnel save money tax and National Insurance policy on the sacrificed volume.

Let’s say, for example, they receive £350 for every week, and £50 of that income is sacrificed for childcare vouchers of the identical benefit. The result is only £300 is subject matter to tax and Countrywide Insurance policy contributions.

Employer price savings relate to employer Countrywide Insurance plan premiums.

Normally, employers contribute 15.05% to National Insurance plan and can therefore create up to 15.05% discounts on any money processed by using wage sacrifice.

For case in point, for just about every £1,000 expended on the Cycle to Perform plan, the common employer will recoup £150.50.

You also have to have to contemplate that reporting demands for non-cash added benefits are distinctive to these for hard cash earnings.

In normal, added benefits should be reported to HMRC at the stop of the tax yr using the finish-of-yr expenditures and positive aspects on the net form.

Pros of salary sacrifice for businesses and workforce

As we outlined earlier mentioned, the prevalent benefit across schemes is that personnel can consider benefit of the exemption from income tax and Nationwide Coverage on the sacrificed volume.

Wage sacrifice techniques also make superior-priced objects this sort of as a motor vehicle or bicycle additional inexpensive by making it possible for your staff members to distribute the price tag.

Shelling out for these merchandise in regular instalments that appear straight out of their salary is much a lot more workable than paying 1 lump sum upfront.

They can also use these positive aspects for organization and own use.

This means as an employer, you really don’t require to pay business mileage due to the fact the employee is no for a longer period making use of their personal automobile for organization travel, so they won’t be claiming company miles.

The very same added benefits also reward businesses since the techniques enable to draw in workers and boost employee retention. In addition, businesses preserve on tax costs for the reason that there’s no employer National Insurance policies contribution to pay out on the portion of sacrificed salary.

Drawbacks of salary sacrifice for companies and staff members

As wage sacrifice strategies in essence minimize the employee’s wage, this could effect any credit score or mortgage loan purposes.

It also indicates that get the job done-linked statutory payments (payments compensated by the employer and based on normal earnings about a fixed period, this sort of as statutory maternity fork out and statutory ill pay back) will be influenced much too.

For a auto leasing plan, the personnel will want to pay Advantage in Sort (BIK) tax at the conclude of the calendar year.

If the leased motor vehicle is not an extremely lower emission car like an electrical car, they could stop up spending a lot more on BIK tax than they would preserve on profits tax and Nationwide Insurance policies contributions.

For businesses, problems can arise when team turnover is substantial.

If your staff leaves in the course of the lease time period for a vehicle, for illustration, the small business is left with the ongoing month to month payments, or an early termination cost for ending the lease early.

Wage sacrifice FAQs

Below are the solutions to commonly requested issues about income sacrifice:

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

Indeed, salary sacrifices are voluntary.

If an employee wishes to opt in or out of a income sacrifice arrangement, you should change their deal with just about every improve. Your employee’s agreement ought to be apparent on what the cash and non-cash entitlements are at any offered time.

For that reason, sacrifice arrangements tend to be in position for at least 12 months, unless the employee experiences a way of living alter.

In that situation the arrangements would be reviewed, then modified or eliminated from the employee’s contract.

Does income sacrifice show up on a payslip?

Of course, a income sacrifice should really look on an employee’s payslip.

The sacrificed amount of money will be revealed as a deduction produced right before tax and Countrywide Insurance policies are used.

Can wage sacrifice be backdated?

No, a salary sacrifice can not be backdated.

It is only legitimate from the stage you and your worker make the agreement, which is the date their contract is signed by both equally events.

Can salary sacrifice be obligatory?

No, it’s a voluntary reduction to an employee’s income, which have to be agreed on by both employer and staff right before it takes area.

As a result, you should not mechanically enrol staff in a wage sacrifice plan.

Where by can I come across additional information about salary sacrifice?

The governing administration site handles information about wage sacrifice and what it suggests for companies and their workforce.

There are information on several subjects, which includes changing the terms of a income sacrifice arrangement to what it usually means for workplace pension strategies.

You can also speak to a payroll qualified or an accountant who provides payroll solutions.

Final feelings on income sacrifice

Once you have the procedures established in put, a income sacrifice arrangement is a get-win for both you and your workforce.

In addition to tax cost savings and included benefit, they can also promote very good personal savings practices, low emission transportation choices, and a much healthier lifestyle.

As an employer, you really don’t have to offer you every single scheme but think about surveying your employees to come across out which ones they experience they would most gain from.