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Please note, the following questions are only a guide and you are advised to read the terms of your hire agreement in full before participating in the scheme. If you have any further questions please call the Cyclescheme Helpline on 0844 879 5101.

Q. What is the cycle to work scheme?

The cycle to work initiative enables employers to lease bicycles and associated safety equipment to their employees through what's called salary exchange. This means that you can receive income tax and National Insurance savings that can be equivalent to up to 41% of the retail price of the chosen bike and safety equipment package.

Q. Who are Cyclescheme?

Cyclescheme is an independent, limited company created to help employers, employees and bike shops participate in the government's Green Transport Plan and associated tax concessions. Cyclescheme use their industry experience and trade contacts to get you riding to work on a bicycle of your choice from a range of local participating bike shops.

Q. What is a salary exchange arrangement?

A salary exchange takes place when you agree to give up the right to receive part of your pay in return for your employer providing some form of non-cash benefit, in this case the loan of a bicycle and related safety equipment.

Q. How are savings made?

Savings are made because salary exchange reduces your gross salary—before any tax or NI has been deducted—so the amount of tax and NI paid is less than usual.

Q. What are the savings?

Typical savings are equivalent to 30.6% of the price of the bike and equipment but the precise amount depends on your personal tax band. If you are being taxed at the higher or additional rate you will save a bit more (around 42% or 47%) than someone who pays standard rate tax.

For generic examples of savings, please see the savings calculator.

Q. How long is a voucher valid for?

Cyclescheme vouchers are valid for 60 days from the date of issue.

Q. Can vouchers be cancelled?

Once the hire agreement is signed you have a right to cancel the agreement within 7 working days beginning with the day after you have received the equipment.

Q. How long does it take to get a voucher through the scheme?

Cyclescheme's services are largely automated so voucher delivery can be very quick. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the University is required to approve the application online, pay an invoice, and then the vouchers are sent by Cyclescheme through the post so average turnaround is around 3–4 weeks from applying online to receiving a voucher.

Q. How do I get my voucher?

Cyclescheme will post the vouchers directly to your home address or by email, if you select this option at the point of application.

Q. What happens if I leave the University, are made redundant or my contract is terminated during the hire period?

If your employment with the University ceases for any reason during the first 12 months of the hire period you will be required to pay a termination fee to the University equal to the total of all payments under the hire agreement yet to be made. This fee will not benefit from any tax exemptions and will be payable as follows:

  • if the fee is less than any remaining net salary payments due to you, the University will seek to deduct it from those remaining payments
  • if this is not possible for any reason, or the fee exceeds your remaining net salary payments, you will be required to pay the fee (or any outstanding balance) to the University within 14 days of the date on which your employment ceases

At this time, you will also need to discuss with the University what is to happen to the Equipment.

Please note that if you have with sufficient service and meet certain other conditions, you may be entitled to statutory payments on redundancy. It is possible, though unlikely, that such payments could be affected when you join the scheme.

If your employment with the University ceases during the extended hire period it will not affect your participation in the scheme and you will be able to maintain use of the bike. Cyclescheme will contact you at the end of the hire period to discuss your options. Please see question below ‘What happens at the end of the 31 month extended hire period?’ for more details.

Q. Who actually owns the bike?

The bike and equipment remain the property of the University throughout the initial 12-month hire period. Thereafter it is owned by Cyclescheme Ltd. You may be offered ownership of the bike in return for a market value fee at the end of the hire period. It is your responsibility to obtain specific insurance for the equipment and you are strongly advised to do so, or otherwise to ensure it is covered by your home contents insurance policy. You must inform your insurer that the University has an interest in the equipment.

Q. How long is the hire period?

The initial hire period is 12 months from the date of commencement of the salary exchange during which time 10 monthly salary exchange payments will be due in total.

Please note that if your salary is on or close to the National Minimum Wage, you may be offered a longer hire period of 24 months. You will be contacted during the application process if this applies to you. This option is not available to other staff as part of the scheme.

Q. Why is the salary exchange period 10 months while the initial hire period is 12 months?

Cyclescheme, our partners, operate on the basis that all participants sign an initial 12 month contract. However, as a significant number of staff in the University are employed on 12 month contracts, a 10 month salary exchange period increases the possibility of these staff being able to participate in the scheme.

Q. What happens at the end of the initial 12 month hire period?

Cyclescheme will contact you to discuss your options. At this point ownership of the bike may be offered to you. Typically this would be offered at substantially less than the original value of the equipment, but to prevent a taxable benefit in kind arising as a result of the transfer of ownership you will be required to pay Cyclescheme the fair market value of the equipment.

You may also be given the opportunity to extend the hire period for a further 31 months by signing a Modifying Agreement and by paying a one off Continuation Deposit, which is fully refundable if you choose to return the bike at the end of the extended hire period. No further monthly salary exchange payments will be due during the extended hire period.

If you are not given this option or if you do not wish to obtain ownership of the equipment it should be returned to the local Cyclescheme Partner Shop. On return of the equipment, Cyclescheme will arrange for the bike to be given to charity.

Q. Why should I sign the Modifying Agreement to extend the hire period by a further 31 months?

By extending the hire period any valuation of the bike at the end of this period in respect of transferring of ownership will be at substantially lower value than those shown in HMRC's Valuation Table for a bike aged 12 months. See table below:




Age of bike Original price
(Less than £500)
Original price
(Greater than £500)
1 year 18% 25%
2 years 13% 17%
3 years 8% 12%
4 years 3% 7%

Q. Why is the extended hire period 31 months?

Extending the initial 12 month hire period by 31 months will take the total hire period to 3 years and 7 months. As a result the bike can be rounded up to 4 year figure detailed in the Valuation Table.

Q. Can I extend the hire period for longer than 31 months?

No. The option to extend beyond 31 months is not available.

Q. Why do I need to sign the Modifying Agreement?

The Modifying Agreement forms the agreement between you and Cyclescheme and details your responsibilities as well as Cyclescheme's, during the extended hire period.

Q. Will I have to pay any more for the bike during the extended hire period?

You will be asked to pay a Continuation Deposit in return for the continued use of the bike at the point you sign the Modifying Agreement. There are no further salary exchange payments or hire charges due during the extended hire period. The continuation deposit is fully refundable if you do not take ownership of the bike at the end of the hire period. If you are offered ownership of the bike at the end of the extended hire period the fair market value fee payable will be offset against the Continuation Deposit already paid. This means that there would be no additional payments due in order to gain ownership of the equipment at the end of the extended hire period.

Q. What is the Continuation Deposit?

This is the consideration to be paid to Cyclescheme in return for the continued use of the bike for a further 31 months.

Q. What will happen at the end of the extended hire period?

Cyclescheme will contact you to discuss your options. At this point ownership of the bike may be offered to you. Typically this would be offered at substantially less than the original value of the equipment, but to prevent a taxable benefit in kind arising as a result of the transfer of ownership you will be required to pay Cyclescheme the fair market value of the equipment. The fair market value fee payable will be offset against the Continuation Deposit you have already paid to extend the hire period. This means that there would be no additional payments due in order to gain ownership of the equipment at the end of the extended hire period.

If you are not given this option or you do not wish to obtain ownership of the equipment it should be returned to the local Cyclescheme Partner Shop. On return of the equipment, Cyclescheme will arrange for the bike to be given to charity and for you to receive a full refund of the Continuation Deposit.

Q. How much will the fair market value be for a bike at the end of the total hire period?

Ownership may be offered to you at the end of the 31 month extended hire period for a consideration in the form of a market value fee that is equal to the Continuation Deposit you have already paid.

Q. Does this mean I have to pay the Continuation Deposit and the market value fee?

No. The consideration of the fee is offset against the Continuation Deposit you have already paid meaning that there would be no more to pay.

Q. What if I don't want to keep the bike at the end of the extended hire period?

You will be able to return the bike to Cyclescheme and upon receipt of the bike Cyclescheme will fully refund the Continuation Deposit you have already paid.

Q. Can I participate in an additional scheme the University whilst the extended hire period is running?

Yes, you can. The extended hire agreement is not a salary exchange arrangement and, apart from the Continuation Deposit, no further payments are required from you during the extended hire period. This leaves you free to participate in future schemes.

Q. What do I do if my contact details change during the hire period?

If your contact details change you should inform Cyclescheme immediately to enable them to contact you at the end of you hire period to discuss your options. You will be able to update your details using your own ‘my Cyclescheme’ online account. Alternatively you can email Cyclescheme at endofhire@cyclescheme.co.uk.

Q. How often does the bike have to be used for work?

Neither you nor the University are required to keep a mileage log. The bike can be used out of work but you are expected to use the bike mainly for qualifying journeys (between home and workplace or between one workplace and another). You may lose the tax exemption if you do not use the bike mainly for qualifying journeys.

Q. Can the bike be used for local trips during the day?

The bike can be used for business purposes during the working day, although no mileage allowance can be claimed on these trips during the hire period as the bike belongs to the University.

Q. Is there a minimum or maximum spend?

There is no minimum spend for bike applications, however, a complete bike must be obtained (i.e. not bike components or safety equipment only). There is a maximum spend which is currently £2,000 inclusive of VAT.

Q. Who is responsible for maintaining the bike?

By signing the hire agreement you are agreeing to maintain the bike in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Q. Whose responsibility is it to insure the bike?

It is your responsibility to insure the Equipment.

The equipment remains the property of the University during the initial 12-month hire period and thereafter it it owned by Cyclescheme Ltd. You may not profit from, transfer, sell or otherwise dispose of the equipment. During the hire period:

  • You must retain possession of the equipment and use it mainly for Commuting, although use for other secondary purposes is permitted.
  • Once collected from the Cyclescheme Partner Shop, you will be responsible for any loss of or damage to the equipment which subsequently occurs, except where this is caused by a defect in the equipment.
  • You must also ensure the equipment is used safely and maintained properly in accordance with any instructions provided by the manufacturer(s) of the equipment and/or by the relevant Cyclescheme Partner Shop.
  • The University shall have no liability for any loss injury or damage caused by your use of the bicycle other than in the course of your employment, save for any personal injury or death caused by the University's negligence.

Q. What if the equipment is defective?

Under the University's arrangements with Cyclescheme, you are entitled to the benefit of the normal warranties given by the relevant manufacturers (or their importers) of the equipment, as well as by any additional warranties that apply under the general law and nothing in this agreement affects the rights that you have under the general law.

If any equipment is damaged when you go to collect it from the Cyclescheme Partner Shop, or if any defects or other warranty issues subsequently come to light, please contact the relevant Cyclescheme Partner Shop in the first instance.

Q. What if the equipment is lost, stolen or damaged?

If at any time during the hire period, the equipment (or part of it) is lost or stolen, or damaged to the point of no longer being usable for Commuting, you will still be responsible for making any remaining payments due under the hire agreement, but the tax exemptions will cease to apply. The University shall not be under any obligation to provide replacement equipment.

Where this happens, you will effectively be required to make the remaining payments out of your net salary. You are therefore strongly advised to obtain specific insurance for the equipment, or otherwise ensure it is covered by your home contents insurance policy. Please note that it is your responsibility to insure the Equipment. You must also inform your insurer that the University has an interest in the equipment.

Please note that if you purchase any replacement equipment following the theft or loss of the equipment you originally obtained under this agreement, that replacement equipment will not be covered by the terms of this agreement and the tax exemptions will not apply.

Q. Can more than one bike be obtained on the same voucher?

It is possible to loan two bikes if for example, you needed a bike at either end of a train journey between their home and place of work, but the maximum is currently £2,000 (inclusive of VAT).

Q. Are electric-assist bikes allowed in the scheme?

Yes.

Q. Are bikes for disabled people available on the scheme?

Yes.

Q. Can second hand bikes be obtained through Cyclescheme?

No.

Q. What happens if someone changes his or her mind after joining the scheme?

It is not possible for you to cancel your loan once the hire agreement has been signed subject to the 7 day period referred to above. You are therefore committed to making the salary exchange for the duration of the initial hire period. This means that you must be sure of the terms of agreement you are entering into and with the selection made.

Q. Is there a credit check?

No.

Q. What does ‘safety equipment’ include?

As a guide, helmets, lights (including dynamos), mirrors, mudguards, cycle clips and dress guards, panniers, locks, bells, pumps, puncture repair kits, multi-tools, reflective clothing and spoke reflectors are all permitted. Child seats are not permitted.

Q. Can special-order bikes be obtained or must existing stock be selected?

Partner Shops can order bikes and accessories but may wish to either take a deposit or have any carriage fees covered to prevent them from being left with a special-order bike or paying extra carriage fees. Any deposits taken on a credit card will be credited back when the voucher is redeemed. Please note that Cyclescheme does not insist on deposits being taken and all such transaction requests are at the discretion of the bike shop or at your request.

Q. What happens when there is a pay award?

You will receive any relevant pay awards based on your unreduced salary.

Q. How will salary exchange affect pension?

Your pension contributions are payable on your full salary. Consequently, your pension and related benefits are not affected by the exchange.

A salary exchange scheme permits you to give up part of the ‘cash benefit’ due under your contract of employment, usually in return for some form of ‘non-cash benefit’. The exchange is achieved by varying your terms and conditions of employment relating to pay and results in savings on national insurance contributions and income tax. Please note that the value of the non-cash benefit is not pensionable in the NHS Pension Scheme. Your pension scheme contributions will only be based on the reduced salary. This means that benefits (including those payable following death in service) may be significantly reduced if claimed during a period when salary is exchanged.

Q. How will salary exchange affect approved unpaid leave?

During approved unpaid leave, the hire agreement period may be extended by up to a maximum of six months to cover the period when the salary was not paid and the University was not able to collect payments.

Q. How will salary exchange affect sickness leave?

If you are absent from work during the hire period, salary exchange payments will continue to reduce any pay you receives during the period of absence, as long as and to the extent that:

  • the pay is of a kind against which salary exchange reductions are legally permitted to be made, and
  • your salary after salary exchange remains above the National Minimum Wage (‘Eligible Pay’)

If you are temporarily not in receipt of Eligible Pay, but remain an employee of the University, then one of two options may apply—either the payments will need to be made via an alternative arrangement and will be agreed with the University at the time or the University may choose to suspend reductions for up to a maximum of 6 months. However in all circumstances:

  • the Hire Period will not be extended for more than 6 months beyond the initial 12-month hire period
  • if after 18 months from the start of the initial hire period, any payments under this agreement have yet to be made, the full balance (i.e. the total of all payments yet to be made) will become payable to the University. The University may seek to deduct this from any future net salary payments due to you or, if the University decides otherwise, you may be required to pay the outstanding balance to the University within 14 days of request. In either case, you will no longer be entitled to the tax exemptions.

Q. How will salary exchange affect maternity, paternity, or parental leave?

Employers now have to provide non-cash contractual benefits for the whole of the Maternity Pay Period (MPP)—this covers Ordinary Maternity Leave (the first 26 weeks) and Additional Maternity Leave (the following 26 weeks). However salary exchange deductions cannot operate during a period of Statutory Maternity Pay as SMP cannot be reduced under any circumstances.

University employees on maternity leave can therefore remain in possession of the bike and equipment for the full length of their maternity leave. However, the underlying salary exchange arrangement can only operate against their period of Enhanced Maternity Pay (the first 18 weeks when staff remain on full pay) and not against the remainder of the maternity leave (up to 34 additional weeks). Salary exchange reductions will therefore re-commence when the employee returns from maternity leave if the hire period has not expired. If the employee does not return to work they will be considered an early leaver, and while the University will not claim any lost reductions, any remaining balance left if the hire period has not expired shall be paid by the participant within 14 days of employment ceasing.

Paternity Leave: You are entitled to a maximum of two weeks paternity leave at full pay. Salary exchange deductions will therefore continue to operate during this time.

Parental leave is unpaid, therefore please see question above—how will salary exchanmge affect approved unpaid leave.

Q. How will salary exchange affect student loan payments?

Student loan repayment is based on a percentage of earnings over an allocated amount. This will alter as the trigger point is based on the salary on which the individual is liable to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICS). Under salary exchange the total gross salary on which NI is paid will reduce, so the loan repayments will reduce.

Q. What do I do if my contact details change during the hire period?

If your contact details change you should inform Cyclescheme immediately to enable them to contact you at the end of you hire period to discuss your options. You will be able to update your details using your own ‘my Cyclescheme’ online account. Alternatively you can email Cyclescheme at endofhire@cyclescheme.co.uk.