I’m an employment benefits expert and here are five things you should ask your employer.

EMPLOYEES can miss out on hundreds of pounds of free gifts and benefits if they don’t ask their employer about it.

Many jobs offer perks and tax breaks that you may not even be aware of.

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Ask Your Employer About These Workplace Perks That Can Cost Hundreds1 credit

Inflation hit a 30-year high, driving up the price of everything from energy bills to groceries.

The British are facing a brutal cost-of-living crisis that is pushing some families to the brink of survival.

And millions of people have been doomed to poverty since April, when the National Insurance tax hike goes into effect, adding to workers’ tax bills by the hundreds.

In addition, the government is freezing the income tax band, which effectively means cutting the wages of millions of workers.

Therefore, it is very important that employees make sure they make the most of any job benefits available to them.

Rob Marshall, Head of Platform Products at WorkLife by OpenMoney, says now is the time to find out what support is available through your work.

Here are five things to ask.

Victim of wages and interest-free loans

You can save hundreds on commuting costs by taking advantage of workplace schemes.

If you get a train to work, many companies offer a subscription loan for your train card.

Your employer contributes the upfront cost of an annual subscription, which saves you money as it is much cheaper than buying monthly or daily memberships.

You then repay the loan in monthly installments through your paycheck.

With train tickets going up next month, this could save you hundreds on your commute.

Rob says, “This will not only help with budgeting, but will also bring the added benefit of a cheaper annual fare.”

If you’d rather work out a little before work time, ask if there’s a pre-work cycle chart.

Thanks to this, you can get money for a new bike through your employer and, just like a train ticket, get the money back in monthly installments through your paycheck.

And wage donation schemes can even help you buy an electric car.

A payroll sacrifice is when you give up part of your paycheck to save on income tax and VAT, in exchange for a non-monetary benefit such as bike commuting schemes, training, or company cars.

Other non-taxable benefits

Currently, the competition for staff is fierce and many companies are raising the stakes to keep their employees and attract new ones.

This could mean that the benefits offered have gotten better – or they could have always been there and you just didn’t know about them.

Non-taxable benefits may include, for example, a mobile phone, childcare vouchers, or welfare counseling.

And since working from home has become the norm for many people, it’s likely that you’ll be able to recoup some of the costs.

Rob says, “Employers can provide money for basic expenses, including broadband and home office furniture, tax-free.”

If you work from home, you may also be eligible for a tax credit, and there isn’t much time left this tax year to apply it.

Cash plan benefits

Cash plans are a way companies can help their employees save on regular healthcare costs, and many people don’t know about them.

Rob recommends contacting your line manager or Human Resources for information on what is available.

Cash plans can help you get money for routine eye exams, dental checkups, and glasses or contact lenses.

Rob says, “Ask what is covered and how to file a claim.

“Cash plans are often overlooked, but they can save significant amounts for eligible workers, depending on their level of insurance coverage.”

Retail and discount schemes

You may not realize that you can save on everyday purchases and memberships through your workplace.

“Retail discounts are one of the most common perks for employees, and they can make a real difference if someone is in financial trouble,” says Rob.

Some employers drop vouchers or codes for products like home or car insurance, and you can also get a cheap gym membership.

Other workplaces may have staff discount arrangements with local businesses or offer access to online fitness classes or equipment, Rob said.

He adds, “These aren’t always widely publicized, so it’s worth talking to your HR department to see how much savings you can qualify for.”

Check your contract as well, as you may have workplace insurance you didn’t even know you had.

Some companies offer a “Death in the Service” benefit, which pays your next of kin a multiple of your salary in the event of your death.

Other companies may provide health insurance and also offer it to your family.

Annual vacation

More employees might find it relevant after two years of self-isolation that made it hard to take vacations.

Many companies will let you sell your annual leave if you don’t use it all the way.

This can be an easy way to increase your pay if you find yourself with holidays left at the end of the year.

Not all jobs offer this – many employers want their employees to take regular vacations so they can get well rested.

Others may let you sell back after a few days, but only up to a certain number, so be sure to check the details.

Rob says, “But if you find yourself wasting your annual leave for this, it’s worth asking.”

On the other hand, some companies allow you to buy additional annual leave – something worth asking if you like to take a lot of vacations or need extra time, for example, to care for a child.

Meanwhile, some companies are shaking things up by introducing a four-day week – here’s the full list.

And firms offer sign-up bonuses to attract new employees in the face of shortages.

In addition, you can increase your pension by taking advantage of workplace contributions.

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