ONE WAY TO help get yourself fitter is to get pumping those legs on a bike to and from work. The Cycle to Work scheme was implemented by the government a couple of years ago, and has benefits for both employers and employees.
If you’re an employer looking to avail of the scheme but are still a bit baffled as to how it works in your favour, we’ve answered some of the basics for you.
Q: How does the cycle to work scheme benefit me?
A: Well, firstly it might help you get fit. Secondly, it will aid the environment if you’re ditching the car for your commute and cycling instead. Thirdly, it will save you a few quid if you are looking to buy a bike to aid you on your journey to and from work.
Q: How is my employer involved in all of this?
A: You choose the bike and the necessary safety equipment to go with it, and your employer picks up the tab. Obviously, you’ll need to tell your employer you wish to engage in the scheme first. It may be at your employers discretion where you purchase your bike, and the price range available.
Q: And how do I pay for it then?
A: You then enter into something called a ‘salary sacrifice’. This means you’ll pay back the cost of the bike over a time that’s no more than twelve months. Each repayment will be deducted from your gross pay (ie, before tax, PRSI, Universal Social Charge etc).
Q: Do I actually save money on the bike by getting it this way?
A: Good news, yes you do.
Q: OK, cool. How much can I save then?
A: Well, that all depends on how much you earn each year before tax, and how much the bike etc costs. The good folk at Bike To Work have provided a handy calculator to help you work it out here. But you can save anywhere between 31% and 52% on the cost of the bike.
Q: So, I can get as many bikes as I like through this, once I’m able to pay for them each week/month?
A: Nope, afraid not. As an employee, you can only avail of the scheme once every five years.
Q: OK, but is there a limit to how much I can spend on the bike?
A: Technically, no. But only the first €1,000 will be exempted from income tax
Q: Do I have to use the bike to travel to and from work?
A: The bike must be used for part or the full journey to and from work. There’s no obligation on your employer to check how you’re using the bike. But, they should ask you for a signed statement that only you will be using the bike and that it will be used to travel to and from work.
Q: Can I use the scheme to buy a second hand bicycle?
A: No, the scheme only applies to new bikes and new safety equipment
Q: And what safety equipment is covered by all of this?
A: Cycle helmets, bells and bulb horns, lights and dynamo packs, mirrors, mudguards, cycle clips and dress guards, luggage carriers, panniers and straps to help carry luggage, locks and chains, pumps, puncture repair kits, cycle tool kits and tyre sealant, reflective clothing, front reflectors and spoke reflectors.
Q: No spokey dokeys?
A: No, sadly not.
Q: Is there a site to get the full details on the scheme?
A: Yeah, Bike To Work seems to be the place to go.