Pensions and childcare vouchers most popular benefits

Pension contributions and childcare vouchers are the most commonly offered tax-efficient salary sacrifice benefit, according to research from Employee Benefits.

Benefits Research 2014 found that 87% of employers that offer benefits via salary sacrifice allow employees to make pension contributions in this way.

In 2009, 44% of employers allowed employees make pension contributions via salary sacrifice.

The study notes that this rise may be linked to auto-enrolment, with many employers now having passed their staging dates.

The survey of 256 employers also found that childcare vouchers have been the most commonly-offered tax-efficient benefit since 2009.

This year, some employers have offered childcare vouchers through a flexible benefits scheme and on a voluntary basis.

From autumn 2015, the childcare voucher scheme will be replaced by the Government's new tax-free childcare scheme. This will provide families with up to 20% of their childcare costs, or up to £2,000 per child.

Debbie Lovewell, deputy editor of Employee Benefits, said:

"The economic landscape has shifted significantly since we first conducted this research back in 2004. However, the reasons why employers offer benefits remain the same now as then: their effectiveness at supporting employee recruitment and retention.

"This is clearly linked to the top issue shaping benefits strategies in 2014. This year, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents told us that a desire to improve employee engagement was a key factor shaping their organisation's benefits package.

"Ensuring staff know the value of their package remains a key concern for employers today."