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The Wheels of Change: Pros & Cons of a Cycle to Work Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

As part of CAFA’s Certified Net Zero Programme we suggest actions that membership organisations and their members can implement. Calculating the emissions relating to Employee and Business Travel is a fundamental part of our Certified programme of support and Scopes 1, 2 & elements of 3 measurement for organisations.

Once we have calculated travel emissions, we suggest actions and provide policies, surveys and templates to embed into plans. Often one of our frequent recommendations is the introduction of a Cycle to Work Scheme for employees.

What is a Cycle To Work Scheme?

A cycle to work scheme allows employees to obtain commuter bikes and cycling accessories through their employer, whilst spreading the cost over a minimum of 12 months and making unbeatable savings through a tax break. Employers must account for output tax based on the value of the salary foregone by the employee in exchange for the hire or loan of a bicycle and/or equipment.

The introduction of a Cycle to Work Salary Sacrifice Scheme is gaining more traction in the UK and more and more organisations are seeking guidance from CAFA about the pro’s and con’s of introducing a cycle to work scheme before setting off on their journey.

We’ve listed some considerations below and added some useful links.

Pros for Membership Organisations & Small Businesses

Attract and Retain Talent

Offering a cycle to work scheme can make your business more attractive to prospective employees and help retain current ones. It's a cost-effective perk for your people that can set you apart from your competition.

Tax Savings

UK Small businesses can benefit from tax savings through reduced National Insurance contributions when employees participate in the scheme.

Healthier Workforce

Encouraging cycling promotes a healthier lifestyle among your staff, potentially reducing sick days and increasing overall productivity.

Environmentally Sound - Key Part of Your Net Zero Strategy

Embracing and encouraging low emissions commuting options aligns your business with net zero targets practices. Communicating your practices, plans and progress externally also makes your brand/organisation more appealing to climate and environmentally-conscious consumers.

Cons for Membership Organisations & Small Businesses

Administrative Burden

Setting up and managing the scheme can be complex, especially for small businesses with limited resources. It may require additional time and effort.

Initial Costs

Implementing the program may require an initial investment in administrative systems and communication and promotional materials.

Limited Participation

Not all employees may be interested in cycling or able to take advantage of the scheme due to personal circumstances or health limitations.

Pros for Employees

Financial Savings

Employees can save money on the cost of a bicycle and accessories through tax-free salary deductions. This reduction in taxable income can lead to lower income tax and National Insurance contributions.

Health Benefits

Cycling to work promotes physical activity and can contribute to improved fitness and well-being.

Reduced Commuting Stress

Avoiding traffic congestion and public transport hassles can lead to a less stressful daily commute.

Environmental Impact

By choosing a sustainable mode of transport, employees can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Cons for Employees

Upfront Costs

Employees may need to make an initial investment in a bicycle and related equipment, which could be a barrier for some.

Limited Choice

The scheme may restrict the use of the bike primarily for commuting purposes, personal use is allowed, as long as the bike is used primarily for commuting)


It’s possible for even the smallest of small businesses to introduce a Cycle to Work Salary Sacrifice Scheme and we see many small organisations thrive from the introduction of this as it creates a win-win situation for small businesses and their employees and the planet.

CAFA has prepared a Travel To Work Survey for employers to gauge the interest and potential demand, this way you can determine whether the benefits of introducing the scheme outweigh the drawbacks.

As part of our Quarterly Net Zero progress check-in, as part of our Certified Net Zero Programme, we review and collect travel emissions data and explore the potential take up of any travel to work scheme with organisation.

By striking the right balance, you can promote a healthier, sustainable, workplace and factor your cycle to work scheme into your net zero action plans all whilst fostering employee satisfaction and loyalty.

We always recommend talking with your accountant / bookkeeper, payroll professional and/or tax advisor before implementation.

If you would like to talk to a member of CAFA’s Net Zero team about our resources for membership organisations, including our travel to work emissions survey, the impact of introducing cycling to work scheme and/or our certified emissions measurement and reporting programme book an appointment with a member of our Net Zero team here.

Useful Links

The UK government has established guidance for employers here.

Cycling UK has curated some guidance here, including a list of major providers in the UK as follows.

The Cycle to Work Alliance (CTWA) represents 80% of the Cycle to Work market. It actively supports employers through setting up the scheme and works with them to help embed a cycling culture in the workplace.


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