Tax efficient benefits can be key for attracting talent to a company, so HR professionals may be dismayed to see how few workplace pension providers can offer access to tax efficient benefits as part of their workplace pension offering. This insight is a continuation from Tuesdays Total Reward Statements article, exploring which providers offer tax efficient benefits as part of their workplace package.

HR teams are spending thousands on employee benefits but have no idea if they are being used according to new research. According to the survey of HR leaders by Thomsons Online Benefits in August 2020, only half of organisations paying for employee benefits are currently able to monitor take-up levels despite spending on average £6,000 on benefits per worker. The HR leaders cited too many data sources as being the largest barrier.

Our data shows that only 28% of workplace pension providers are able to offer tax efficient benefits to their members. By offering a wide range of employee benefits through their workplace pension platform, these providers could be onto a winner with HR leaders who want to have all their benefits data coming from one source.

Out of the providers who do offer access to tax efficient and voluntary benefits  – the three Aviva propositions (Designer, My Money and My Money Master Trust) and the Standard Life GFRP and DC Master Trust schemes, they all appear to be offering pretty much the same when it comes to what member benefits are available.

They all offer bike loans, childcare vouchers, mobile phones, health screening, work-related training, Give as You Earn (charity donation), holiday buy, optical care, and pet care/insurance benefits.

They are also all able offer access to discount/reward vouchers (these are provided by various third party suppliers), employee care ownership schemes, gym memberships, cashback plans, dental care, healthcare cash plans, home computing schemes, car breakdown, will writing, travel loans (season tickets) and eye care.

All also offer the option to extend the dental, eyecare and gym memberships to joint plans.

Flexible working has been propelled to the top of the corporate agenda for most companies due to the Coronavirus pandemic. All of the workplace pension providers offering access to tax efficient and voluntary benefits are able to offer flexible working hours as one of the benefits supported.

There have also been campaigns for enhanced paternity and maternity leave for those who had a new child during lockdown. All of the five workplace pension providers offering access to tax efficient benefits for their members are able to support enhanced paternity/maternity leave on their platform.

Full list of the benefits offered that we asked providers:

Standard Life GFRP and Standard Life DC Master Trust also offer a range of other benefits. They told us their platform has “almost limitless potential” for benefit provision.

They also said they are seeing a trend towards eldercare benefits provision (such as home help and health assessments); green/electric cars via salary sacrifice; bespoke employer specific benefits around employee wellbeing (debt management etc.) and other bespoke benefits (both regulated and unregulated such as alternatives to Group Income Protection; tutoring and screening products).

The one area where the five providers who offer workplace pension employers and members access to benefits through their platform differ is how they interact with the payroll system.

Where the employee has selected voluntary benefits, the payroll system notifies the Aviva Designer, Aviva My Money, Aviva My Money Master Trust platforms via a standard monthly export. For Standard Life and Standard Life DC Master Trust a monthly export is based on a per payroll period basis as defined by each client.

Taking advantage of tax efficient benefits via your workplace pension is a great way to maximise your earnings and we are please to see that Aviva and Standard Life are offering these services alongside their workplace pension offerings.