Grass Roots expands employee benefits portfolio with Phonescheme launch


Employers can now offer staff the chance to save between 22% and 42% on the cost of getting a new smartphone

05 April 2016 – Leading salary sacrifice scheme provider Grass Roots has today launched Phonescheme, offering employees a discounted route to the latest smartphones, and employers an additional company benefit to offer that will help save them money too.

Phonescheme comes from the team behind Cyclescheme, the UK’s leading Cycle to Work provider who has helped over half a million people, working for companies that include Santander and Sainsbury’s to save money on a new bike. 

In a recent survey of UK employees1 low total cost of ownership was the most commonly important factor in the choice of a mobile phone, for an overwhelming 70.4%, compared to free minutes or date, the phone’s specification or the network provider’s customer service. And over 75% of employers believe that offering a wide range of benefits helps attract and retain employees.

Phonescheme meets both of these needs by enabling employers to take part in a scheme that offers staff the chance to get a new smartphone at a discounted rate and to spread the cost over a year.

Phonescheme customers will have the opportunity to make a saving2 of £278.62 on the new Samsung Galaxy S7 handset. In addition to providing leading brands such as Apple and Samsung, Grass Roots is the only salary sacrifice provider to offer the new Wileyfox handset. This budget smartphone has received rave reviews for its performance and can be obtained for just £8.30 per month via Phonescheme. It also recently won a Mobile News Award in the challenger manufacturer category in spite of its low cost.

Customers of Phonescheme have the freedom to continue to use their existing SIM card or they can get a new one from any network provider, allowing them to take advantage of market-leading SIM-only or pay-as-you-go deals.

Phonescheme is easy to set up and Grass Roots looks after all the administration. Once the employee has selected a phone, the employer pays for it and recovers the cost from the employee’s gross salary over a 12 month period. The employer will make savings of up to 13.8% in National Insurance on the cost of each phone while employees can save between 22% and 42% on the cost of the phone through Income Tax and National Insurance Savings.

Stephen Holt, Commercial Director, Grass Roots said: “Phonescheme offers employees the ability to choose from a wide range of phones without the commitment, expense and inflexibility of a conventional mobile contract.

“The success of Cyclescheme has shown us that employees appreciate the opportunity to access high-value items, tax-free and then be able to spread the cost of paying for them over a year or two. And with over 70% of our customers claiming that low total cost of mobile phone ownership is most important purchasing factor, we believe this scheme will be a welcome addition to any employee benefits package.”

Eimear Rushe, Head of Human Resources at South West College said: “South West College is recognised as an ‘Employer of Choice’, and as such it is keen to introduce schemes that are of direct benefit to all our employees. In recent years the College has had a high degree of engagement with other employee benefit schemes such as the Childcare Vouchers Scheme, Cycle to Work Scheme and Technology Schemes.  This new initiative is already proving to be a popular bonus to the College’s highly committed workforce.”

Average savings vary from 22% to 42% based on a participant’s income tax band and which end of hire option they choose. The scheme is fully compliant with HMRC Guidance that allows for the provision of one mobile phone for an employee’s private use, exempt from Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

In addition to Phonescheme, Grass Roots Employee Solutions also delivers other tax-efficient benefits including childcare vouchers, bike and technology schemes, as well as employee discounts, prepaid cards, health and well-being solutions and more.

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