Days off, home insulation, bikes: green perks for employees

Working hours decrease after the pandemic Photo: Depositphotos

Could your company loan you the money to insulate your house? Or give you an extra day of holiday in return for reducing your transport emissions?

A small-scale survey by employer association the AWVN suggested that more employers are thinking about green employee perks – and want help from the government in simplifying the fiscal system.

In a voluntary online survey of 344 member employers, the AWVN found that almost half are “greening” their employee perks, while more than a third want to do more. The easiest employee benefits to organise, with an eye to the environment, are around mobility: offering a tax-efficient way to buy a bike or electric bike, electric car rental or encouragement to save miles and work from home, perhaps with help to lease office equipment.

Some companies, according to the report, see their role in offering a vegetarian or organic lunch. One in 10 of those surveyed offered a “climate budget” to help with home insulation, solar panels or a heat pump, and almost a quarter gave a number of paid days off for volunteer work.

Several had a “green” pension fund, while one in eight had a scheme for employees to donate some of their salary or bonus to a good cause. Nobody, as yet, offered extra days of holiday in exchange for taking the train instead of flying, or a paid day off to take part in climate protests – although a few were considering these perks.

Report co-author Mathijs Roodenburg told Dutch News that as the impacts of climate change became more evident, these kinds of employee schemes will grow in popularity. “This is a trend that we have been seeing for some time, especially in the area of mobility,” he said. “But we are very happy to see that employers have all kinds of new initiatives alongside this, like helping insulate homes.

“It is a nice way for employers to show that they value sustainability and are trying to find employees who also think this is important. A lot of companies have sustainability business goals, like reducing waste, but this is shifting to terms and conditions for employees too, to stay appealing. But employers also have a social function to set an example.”

In Roodenburg’s view, the new measures go further than a gimmick – and the employers in the survey called for more governmental measures to reduce the regulatory hurdles and tax burdens around green perks. “We can all see the impact of climate change around us,” he added. “I don’t think this theme will go away.”

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