Understanding Salary Sacrifice

Salary sacrifice is a term that you might have come across while exploring your employee benefits package. It involves giving up a portion of your salary in exchange for some benefits, such as a company car or a pension contribution.

Understanding this process can be daunting, but it can help you save money on taxes and increase your income. In this blog, we’ll explore what salary sacrifice is, how to handle the process, and top tips to make the most of the scheme.

What is Salary Sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is an agreement between you and your employer, where you reduce your pre-tax salary to receive a non-cash benefit or perk. This means that you pay less income tax and National Insurance contributions because your taxable income has been reduced. There are several benefits that you can get from a salary sacrifice, such as cycle-to-work schemes, childcare vouchers, pension contributions, and company cars.

The Salary Sacrifice Process

The process of salary sacrifice differs depending on the benefits you’re opting for. If you’re interested in a particular benefit, you should contact your HR department or your employer and check if they have any scheme in place. Once you’re enrolled, your employer will reduce your gross pay by the agreed amount. This reduction is tax-free, but it may affect some of your statutory payments like maternity pay or pension contributions. You should also bear in mind that once you’ve agreed to the salary sacrifice, you can’t change your mind during the agreed period.

Top Tips for Employees – How to  Make the Most of Your Salary Sacrifice

  • Understand the Benefits – Ensure that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the benefits you’re opting for. Research how much you can save and what you’re giving up in return.
  • Plan for the Future – Salary sacrifice can be an excellent tool for long-term savings or spending plans. Take time to consider your financial goals, and how these benefits can help you achieve them.
  • Choose Wisely – Carefully weigh the cost of the benefit against the portion of the salary you’re giving up. Some benefits may be more worthwhile than others, depending on the amount of the salary you’re sacrificing.
  • Seek Professional Advice – If you’re unsure about the process, seek advice from a financial adviser or tax specialist. They can help you understand your options and make a well-informed decision.
  • Stay Up to Date – Once you’ve enrolled, keep an eye on your salary slips and payslips to ensure that the agreed amount is being deducted correctly. If you notice any discrepancies, raise them with your HR department or employer as soon as possible.

Advice for Employers

Employers need to be aware of the implications of salary sacrifice schemes when it comes to ensuring that employees are being paid at least the national minimum wage for their working hours.

Examples of common salary sacrifice include cycle-to-work schemes, pension contributions (however, it is important to consider if employees contribute to their pension from their pre-tax earnings or look to reduce their salary) and pre-existing childcare voucher arrangements.

When calculating an employee’s pay and benefits, it’s important to consider any agreed-upon salary sacrifice between the employer and employee. This means that the employer should factor in the amount the employee has sacrificed from their salary before making any deductions.

If, after making these calculations, an employee’s wages fall below the national minimum wage, then employers must make up the difference so that they receive at least the minimum wage for their working hours.

Contact HR Revolution for support and advice on this!

Salary sacrifice is an increasingly popular employee benefits scheme that offers several advantages to both employers and employees. It’s an excellent way to save money on taxes and increase your income. However, before opting for a salary sacrifice scheme, it’s essential to understand the benefits and the process. This can help you make a well-informed decision and ensure that you’re making the most of the scheme.

For more information on this topic or if you have any questions, please get in touch with HR Revolution at hello@hrrevolution.co.uk.