Ride-To-Work with Workride’s benefit scheme

On the path to happier, healthier communities

Workride is a Ride-To-Work benefit scheme designed to get more people on bikes and living healthier lives.

Co-Founder Aidan Smith, and Lisa De Gray from JTB Architects – who has implemented the scheme in her workplace – recently spoke to Mission Zero’s Fleet Management networking group about the ins and outs of the scheme.

What is Workride’s Ride-To-Work benefit scheme?

“Ride-To-Work is a cost-neutral benefit scheme which allows employers to support their employees to acquire a bike, e-bike, or scooter for their commute to work, at a cost offset of between 32 and 63 per cent.”

How does it work?

“The service is cost-neutral for employers and employees, and the steps are reasonably simple:

  1. The employer signs up to Workride.
  2. The employee then selects their bike or other ride from an approved store, who will create a Workride order.
  3. The employer approves and pays for the ride benefit.
  4. The employee picks up the ride.
  5. Over a 12-month period the employee rides through a lease arrangement while their salary sacrifice effectively reimburses the employer in full.
  6. After 12 months the employee is provided with the Next step options, which includes the gifting of the ride equipment at no extra cost.

We see an average spend of around $4k per ride which can be viewed by the employer as a benefit service (opex), even if it feels like a purchase. Essentially, the employer facilitates the ride benefit service and Workride leases it to the employee until the cost has been fully reimbursed.

In this context Workride, as New Zealand’s only approved scheme, acts as a third party to ensure that the purchase complies with the country’s legal and tax regulations. We also provide efficient management of the administration aspects for participating employees.”

Why adopt a Workride scheme in your workplace?

“We wanted to reduce the Scope 3 emissions created by employees who were commuting into work, offer a benefit that might contribute to staff retention, and enable movement in what we see as a fairly physically static work environment.”

“We see this as a path to happier, healthier communities, and environmentally, from our perspective, this is about doing the right thing. Employers benefit by being able to provide more value for their staff through the offer of a cost-neutral benefit. Employees benefit from the reduction of taxable income through the salary sacrifice (eg. PAYE, and ACC).”

How do you implement the scheme in a workplace?

“It took us about four months to get going – Christmas was in the mix, but we just wanted to get one person onboarded to test-drive the process.

  • We started by looking through the Workride website, making contact and receiving a handy onboarding pack.
  • We then asked around to establish interest from staff by running a survey. Some of those who were keen wanted to hold off for a bit, which helped us to refine our timeline and establish a monthly $ outlay which took into account a staggered approach.
  • Workride also supplied us with a preform which included key bullet points to explain to staff exactly how the scheme worked.
  • We started with a pilot employee and scaled up from there.
  • The process for approving the purchase is quite simple. Once an employee has received their quote and pushed it through to Workride it comes through to us for approval, along with a copy of the lease agreement between Workride and the employee. At this point we check the details of the applicant, including their employment contract terms with us.
  • From an accounts perspective it’s also really quite easy… the salary sacrifice automatically appears on the associated staff member’s payslip and pushes the journal across to Xero, so there are no problems reconciling invoices.
  • It really won’t take you very long.”

Tips and insights

  • Survey your staff for interest and to manage everyone’s expectations
  • Start with a pilot, you don’t have to release the scheme to everyone straight away
  • Make it clear that this a procurement for commuting, not leisure (so it’s not for mountain bikes, unless that’s what an employee wants to commute with)
  • Employees on short-term contracts aren’t suited to the scheme
  • Employees who leave the organisation before completing their lease can either settle the outstanding salary sacrifice through their final net pay or a direct payment, or the employer can reclaim the equipment and reassign it to another employee
  • KiwiSaver and loans are impacted, so ask Workride for more detail about this, and be sure to communicate that to staff
  • Insurance sits with the employee, so ensure they check with their contents provider for coverage
  • Employees benefit from the reduction of taxable income through the salary sacrifice (eg. PAYE, and ACC). Find out more about Workride offsets here
  • The scheme suits both small and large businesses – there is no limit on take-up associated with your number of FTEs

Read more employer FAQs on the Workride website

What results have you seen?

“In the four months since launch, Workride has been adopted by over 320 employers across the country. We’re now looking to expand the salary sacrifice benefit offer to public transport – stay tuned!”

“Out of 46 staff members we have seen a whopping 20% hit rate, with every office now participating. We’ve also received good feedback on the wellbeing impacts, with one of our riders commenting that: ‘As opposed to traffic there’s more freedom and flow, which helps me to clear my mind.'”

Aidan Smith co-founded Workride in early 2023, bringing his expertise in engineering and a background in product design and technology development from across various pioneering industries, including transport and adventure recreation, to the table. His guiding vision is to see a brighter future for the planet, shaped through innovative solutions.

Lisa De Gray is qualified accountant and Business Manager for JTB Architects Limited.


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