Here's a first-rate idea:
While a company car is coveted by many employees, Centacare is setting a benchmark by offering one of its staff a bicycle.
And the numbers really add-up:
- Company car:
$15,000 per year plus expenses such as petrol, insurance, maintenance and parking
- Company bicycle:
$2500 one time payment
Even if they threw-in a couple of $100-a-time trips to a bike shop for maintenance, it's still a better deal.
Even if they provided a new bike every year, it's still a better deal.
Here's a big thumbs-up to the bright-sparks at Centacare who thought up this one. I'd certainly consider a package like that.
Meanwhile my employer doesn't even offer salary packaging for bicycles. I can, of course, package novated leasing of a car and car parking fees, neither of which are of the slightest interst to me. Sheesh.
Would anyone else put up their hand for a company bike?
Who-oa! That's a whole other can-o'-worms.
I agree that the loss of coverage for all commuters is a joke (and the BFA release covers the issues really well). But in the wash-up, how important is this to people's decision to ride to work? I'd far rather have WorkCover apply to my commuting, but not having it isn't going to stop me riding.
I think cfsmtb's comment on insurance demonstrates another example of how cycling is not taken seriously as a transport option, but initiatives like the one taken by Centacare may well make a positive contribution.
I sure would. It's a disgrace that you can still salary package a car. There should be tax penalties for commuting by car, not incentives.
I'm not specifically against salary packaging for cars, it's just that it's of no use to me whatsoever. The bicycle is the vehicle that I use the most and is my mode of choice for commuting. So why is it not equally valid when it comes to salary packaging for vehicles?
(I've put this question to our salary packaging coordinator, with no response as yet. I don't think I'm the first to ask and I'm not holding my breath.)
And the answer comes back from the salary packaging department: "we don't do bikes". What a surprise…
I also asked my employer (it's a no) but at least they gave a comprehensive explanation. I'll share it.
The example from SA appears to be an arrangement whereby an organisation provided a bike as part of a person's total package. This is different to "salary packaging' which is where employees change the structure of their remuneration package and take non-cash benefits in lieu of salary (and make payments in pre tax dollars).
Note, the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act, Income Tax Assessment Act and Goods and Services Tax Act define how benefits are to be treated for taxation purposes. A "full FBT' employer does not have the flexibility under the tax act to offer as extensive a range of benefits as you may see in hospitals and charitable organisations (these organisations are FBT exempt).
From the article, it appears that the organisation is not "salary packaging' bicycles, but rather offering it to this employee as an extra addition to his usual salary. This type of arrangement would be handled on a case by case basis during the contract negotiation stage.
I've also heard that the company bike could be considered part of the fleet company of vehicles.
I did make a fast switch from the "package" conditions of that bloke's contract and "salary packaging" (aka "salary sacrifice"), although it's clear that in the news story the bike was not provided under "salary packaging" arrangements.
Hielke's employer reckons that A 'full FBT' employer does not have the flexibility under the tax act to offer as extensive a range of benefits, but a quick look at the ATO web site suggests that this might not be so:
There is no restriction on the types of benefits that can be sacrificed. The important thing is that these benefits form part of your remuneration, replacing what otherwise could have been paid as salary. The types of benefits generally provided in salary sacrifice arrangements by employers include fringe benefits, exempt benefits and superannuation.
I note that common fringe benefits include cars and goods. While I'd prefer that they said "vehicles" (which would automatically include bikes), I think it's fair to say that bicycles would come under the heading "goods".
So as far as I can tell, there's no external restriction on what can be salary packaged—it's a private arrangement between employer and employee. But what the hell do I know about it?