This January Swisse Wellness, part of the H&H Group, reaffirms its commitment to wellness with the launch of Australia’s first Ride to Work Scheme. Swisse will be the first ANZ business to offer employees a tax deductable salary sacrifice ride to work scheme.
All employees will be entitled to a $2,000/pa loan to purchase cycling equipment to ride to and from work. Over 12 months, employees repay this amount from their pre-tax salary, accessing savings of up to approximately 32% on their investment. The scheme operates on similar principles as salary scarifying a car.
It’s an exciting development in the move to get more Australians on bikes and while this scheme isn’t currently available nationwide, Swisse is hoping its new program helps to provide a successful framework and model for the Government and relevant stakeholders to utilise in the future.
“As global leaders in preventative health, our mission is to make people healthier and happier. Our aim is to inspire other businesses in Australia to adopt the scheme so that more Australians can enjoy the benefits of cycling to work. Working in London for many years, I was first introduced to the UK scheme in 2013 and have been cycling to work ever since. I am now fitter and faster into work, it’s great for the environment and it doesn’t cost me a penny. I am happier and healthier because of it,” says Swisse Wellness Managing Director, Oliver Horn.
Comparatively globally, average cycling rates in Australia are very low. Only 125,000 workers (1.4% of total commuters) ride a bicycle to work. This is a low figure compared to Northern and Western Europe where average cycling rates are ten times that of Australia (Netherlands 43% participation and Denmark with 30% participation).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports almost seven million people drive to work every day. That means for every bike commuter there are 56 car commuters clogging up our cities. This scheme seeks to reduce this divide and increase cycling participation in Australia; helping to resolve congestion, improve health outcomes and positively impact the environment. Swisse also aspires to foster a stronger cycling culture in Australia, whereby there is stronger rider driver safety awareness. For every car driver that becomes a new cyclist, that driver becomes more cycle aware.
Ride to Work Schemes have witnessed great success around the globe, with leading UK scheme provider CycleScheme, today attracting almost 800,000 participants. UK scheme findings report a 91% increase in journey’s on bikes over the last decade, more than 50% taking up the scheme being new to cycling, 76% users say they would not have bought a bike had the scheme not existed, and 87% participants report a noticed improvement in their health after starting to ride to work.
Former Tour de France and UCI Road Race World Champion Cadel Evans is supporting this initiative to encourage all Australians to move more to achieve better overall physical and mental health.
“I’m excited to see Swisse champion cycling with the launch of the national Ride to Work Scheme. As a passionate cyclist, it’s fantastic to see a business not only supporting its employees but inspiring all Australians to live a healthier and happier life. In the interests of our well-being, the traffic and environmental issues society is facing, I am convinced that my passion, cycling, can help us. If we can make it easier to ride to and from work, we can make a big difference,” says Evans.
As part its commitment to wellness, for the third consecutive year, Swisse is excited to be back on the road with Cadel and the cycling enthusiasts of Australia, supporting the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Swisse People’s Ride. In 2019, Swisse is expecting over 3,500 participants for the Swisse People’s Ride, demonstrating the growing enthusiasm for cycling in Australia.
“At Swisse, wellness is the cornerstone of our business and we aim to support every Australian to not just be alive, but to live well. Together with Australian businesses and the Australian Government, we have the opportunity to bring this national Ride to Work Scheme to every Australian,” says Horn.
For further information or for Australian businesses to show interest in implementing the National Ride to Work Scheme, visit www.swisse.com/ridetowork.
Hop across to the Swisse Ride to Work website for more information or better still, forward this news to your employer (or employees). The more support given to this new scheme, the better.