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What are the best benefit selections for Christmas?


Tis the season to be jolly! (cue the fa-la-la-la-la fanatics)

And what better way to get the festive period started than by sharing Zest’s Christmas benefit recommendations?

We’ll stop short at shouting ‘IT’S BENEFITS’, or ‘BENEFITS ARE COMING TO TOWN’ at the top of our voice, but it’s hard not to wax lyrical about these seasonal selections during the most wonderful time of the year.

Preparing your annual celebrations can come and go quicker than dad scoffing the last roast potatoes. One minute you’re wrapping presents, listening to Slade and feeling merry, and the next you’re waving goodbye to 2023 and toasting for New Year’s Eve.

With a few holiday-related puns and topical song lyrics to keep you on your misel-toes, we’ve looked under the tree and pulled out a number of options that should be considered over the coming weeks by employees, and how employers can also reward colleagues for the big day.

Employees:

Travel Scheme

‘Driving in my car, driving home for Christmas.’

December can be an expensive month. So how can you save a few quid in 2023 and offset the cost of travelling until the new year? Simple, by signing up to the Travel Scheme benefit.

According to a survey by eBay Ads UK1, one in five UK consumers plan on spending the festive period with a holiday, with 19% heading overseas.

Whether you’re hiring a car to see family, booking a hotel to avoid staying at the In-laws or plotting a last-minute flight to discover your own Fairytale of New York, you can request the value of your trip in the form of an e-voucher. What’s more, you’ll spread the cost over 12 months, making a 12% tax and National Insurance saving.

Tech Scheme

‘All I want for Christmas is a Plasma TV.’

Perhaps we’ve got the lyrics wrong, but one of our favoured employee Christmas benefits is the popular Tech Scheme.

Employees can spread the cost of their latest gadgets across monthly payments and save up to 12% on National Insurance contributions. Easier than ‘mince’ pie to navigate, why not:

  • Keep an eye on burning that extra turkey off with a FITBIT watch
  • Watch Home Alone on a brand new Ultra HD TV
  • Make clearing up the Christmas table a doddle with a new dishwasher

Whatever you get, we’re sure it will be love at frost sight.

Generic Discount Platforms

‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a discounted pair of dungarees.’

Not ‘wrapped up’ your Xmas shopping just yet? Don’t panic, your employee Discount Platform could save you up to £1,000 a year. With discounts and offers from the UK’s most popular retailers, getting dad an extra pair of socks just become even cheaper.

Providers often run competitions too, meaning you can win fantastic prizes throughout the year.

Charitable Giving

‘Merry Christmas, EVERYONE.’

Christmas is certainly a time for giving, and we should all take a moment to consider those less fortunate than ourselves, so they don’t miss out.

Payroll Giving or Give-As-You-Earn is a popular benefit offered by many employers to encourage colleagues to support local charities through their salary.

After selecting your chosen benefactor, your employer will deduct a donation amount from your pay before deducting tax. You can also split the amount between more than one charity. Should you choose to give donations directly via a standing order/direct debit, the charity will be able to claim Gift Aid as long as you’re a UK taxpayer.

Employee Assistance Programme

While many settle down to open presents around the Christmas tree, some employees may be dealing with problems inside and outside of the workplace that makes the festive period a difficult time to comprehend.

Funded by your employer, the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a confidential support hotline that offers support to individuals who need it most. For those that are struggling from any of the following at Christmas, the EAP is a shining light in what can perhaps be a difficult time of year:

  • Health and Safety Concerns
  • Financial and Legal Topics
  • Work-Related Issues
  • Relationships and Family Matters

To find out more about your EAP offering, visit your benefits platform or check your employee handbook.

Employers: The gift of giving

‘Rocking around, the Christmas tree.’

Corporate Christmas gifts for employees are becoming more and more popular. Employers are choosing to offer more than an office party and perhaps a festive end-of-year bonus as a thank you for all your hard work over the year. But what alternative employee Christmas gifts can you consider? How can you find the best Christmas gifts for employees that will add a little festive spirit?

The Holiday Hamper

Christmas gifts for employees in the UK could provide you with a never-ending list of perks and presents. While benefits are no longer a one-size-fits-all approach, bulk Christmas gifts for employees can prove valuable. Christmas gift hampers for employees is one way to make December a little more jolly, without the need to tailor each individual present.

Extra holiday

‘I wish it could be Christmas, every day.’

We know not every day can be the 25th December, but there’s no reason we can’t let the celebrations start a little earlier. Employers can offer their most valuable asset an extra day of additional leave to make preparations for the big day a little less stressful. Having an extra day to wrap presents or watch the Polar Express can often be a popular choice.

Sustainable Christmas gifts

At Christmas, giving can be much more valuable than receiving a present. After all, it is a time for giving.

According to Employee Benefits2, employers are looking into ways they can contribute to those perhaps less fortunate. This can include dedicating a tree to an individual that offsets carbon, ActionAid’s give a goat campaign, where African farming families can receive a goat to help improve their food security, and an introductory mini ecosystem workshop, where participants can learn about terrariums and natural ecosystems while building their own.

Are Christmas gifts for employees tax deductible?

You may wish to give your employees a present – a Christmas hamper, a bottle of wine, or a nice box of chocolates. As long as it costs less than £50 a head, it won’t be taxable. If the gift exceeds this value, it will need to be reported to HMRC and will be taxable under the normal Benefit in Kind rules.

So, from everyone here at Zest, we wish you a happy holidays and a fantastic New Year.

Written by:
Zest

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