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Cafetaria plan: tailor-made, flexible salary package

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More and more companies are offering their staff a cafetaria plan. The war for talent is obliging them to pull out all the stops. For years, Athlon has been supporting its clients in developing such a plan within their HR policy.

A considerable number of big players have come up with a cafetaria plan to attract talented staff. “This means a more flexible salary package with a wide range of alternatives designed to entice talented young people to come and work for the employer”, says Philippe Fouyn, Strategic Account Manager at Athlon.

In exchange for part of their salary, employees can choose from a wide range of options: a lease car (with or without a fuel card), a lease bicycle, a rail season ticket, and so on. But it is not only mobility products that qualify. Extra holiday days, insurance cover, a computer or a smartphone can all be part of the salary package. In short, there’s a vast array of options.

Tailored to the client

For years, Athlon has been implementing cafeteria plans within companies’ HR policies, tailored to the client. Olivier De Vos, Sales Manager at Athlon: “Our motivated team is specialised in supporting and implementing the flexible income plan. With targeted support and in-depth know-how, we take over the entire process from the client.”

In collaboration with the employer, Athlon creates the framework within which staff can put together their Flex Income Plan. “This is where the product differs from alternative schemes such as the mobility budget, to which a number of legal conditions are attached”, explains Olivier De Vos. Philippe Fouyn: “Both products deliver a more flexible salary, but for the mobility budget, there is a set maximum emissions level for a car. With the Flex Income Plan, that is not the case, although Athlon is designing a framework for companies that means that employees automatically choose a greener car. We give fleet managers advice on alternative fuels like CNG and hydrogen, alongside electric and hybrid cars.”

The choice lies with the driver

The ultimate choice lies with the employee. First and foremost, they are not obliged to sign up for a cafeteria plan: only between 10 and 15% of staff who are offered such a plan actually take it up. Olivier De Vos: “If someone wishes to opt for a company car, they would be well advised to look not only at their company’s car policy, but also at the available budget and the number of miles they drive on average. These factors determine the most suitable type of vehicle.”

“The advantage of a car budget within a flexible income plan is that drivers can take advantage of steep discounts offered by carmakers. This has a positive impact on the lease price”, Philippe Fouyn adds. “The purchase of a car is a big chunk out of the family budget, especially in the case of the more expensive technologies like those used in hybrid or electric cars. Thanks to full operational leasing, employees enjoy financial security: a fixed rental price that covers all unexpected costs. Moreover, it means that employees see greener cars with lower CO2 emissions as realistic options. Thus a cafeteria plan contributes to making the vehicle fleet greener, and employees select models that they would never have considered if they were buying privately.”

Suitable for staff at all levels

Another difference between the cafetaria plan and other products that make the salary package more flexible are the conditions that determine staff eligibility. “You are only entitled to the mobility budget if you have already been entitled to a company car for a minimum of three years”, explains Philippe Fouyn. “But the cafeteria plan is for everyone with a fixed contract and a minimum number of working hours per week.”

The flexible income plan is being offered to a growing number of employees. Philippe Fouyn: “Over the past year, for example, we know that the cafeteria plan is also being offered to less senior staff. Indeed, these days it is difficult to attract suitably qualified people at all levels. So in the war for talent, this provides for the needs of an ever expanding target group.”

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