This January, Swisse Wellness, part of the H&H Group, reaffirms its commitment to wellness with the launch of Australia’s first Ride to Work Scheme. Swisse will be the first ANZ business to offer employees a tax deductable salary sacrifice ride to work scheme.
All employees will be entitled to a $2000/pa loan to purchase cycling equipment to ride to and from work. Over 12 months, employees repay this amount from their pre-tax salary, accessing savings of up to approximately 32 per cent on their investment. The scheme operates on similar principles as salary sacrificing a car.
Swisse Wellness Managing Director, Oliver Horn says: “As global leaders in preventative health, our mission is to make people healthier and happier. Our aim is to inspire other businesses in Australia to adopt the scheme so that more Australians can enjoy the benefits of cycling to work. Working in London for many years, I was first introduced to the UK scheme in 2013 and have been cycling to work ever since. I am now fitter and faster into work, it’s great for the environment and it doesn’t cost me a penny. I am happier and healthier because of it.”
Comparatively globally, average cycling rates in Australia are very low. Only 125 000 workers (1.4 per cent of total commuters) ride a bicycle to work. This is a very low figure (for a flat and dry country) compared to Northern and Western Europe where average cycling rates are ten times that of Australia (#1 Netherlands: 43 per cent participation, #2 Denmark: 30 per cent participation).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports almost seven million people drive to work every day. That means for every bike commuter there are 56 car commuters clogging up our cities. This scheme seeks to reduce this divide and increase cycling participation in Australia; helping to resolve congestion, improve health outcomes and positively impact the environment. Swisse also aspires to foster a stronger cycling culture in Australia, whereby there is stronger rider driver safety awareness. For every car driver that becomes a new cyclist, that driver becomes more cycle-aware.
Ride to Work Schemes have witnessed great success around the globe, with leading UK scheme provider CycleScheme, today attracting almost 800 000 participants. UK scheme findings report a 91 per cent increase in journeys on bikes over the last decade, more than 50 per cent taking up the scheme being new to cycling; 76 per cent of users say they would not have bought a bike had the scheme not existed; and 87 per cent of participants report a noticed improvement in their health after starting to ride to work.
“The success overseas is evident and Swisse is committed to championing this scheme to become a national initiative in Australia. We are excited to work in partnership with like-minded industry stakeholders to drive and scale this scheme nationally and the Australian Government to help create further opportunities that incentivise and support all Australian businesses to readily adopt a national Ride to Work Scheme.”
Long-time friend of Swisse and Australian Tour De France winner, Cadel Evans is supporting this initiative to encourage all Australians to move more to achieve better overall physical and mental health.
“I’m excited to see Swisse champion cycling with the launch of the national Ride to Work Scheme. As a passionate cyclist, it’s fantastic to see a business not only supporting its employees but inspiring all Australians to live a healthier and happier life. In the interests of our wellbeing, the traffic and environmental issues society is facing, I am convinced that my passion, cycling, can help us. If we can make it easier to ride to and from work, we can make a big difference,” says Cadel Evans.
For the third consecutive year, Swisse is excited to be back on the road with Cadel Evans and the cycling enthusiasts of Australia, supporting the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Swisse People’s Ride. In 2019, over 3500 participants are expected for the Swisse People’s Ride, demonstrating the growing enthusiasm for cycling in Australia.
“At Swisse, wellness is the cornerstone of our business and we aim to support every Australian to not just be alive, but to live well. Together with Australian businesses and the Australian Government, we have the opportunity to bring this national Ride to Work Scheme to every Australian,” says Horn.
For further information or for Australian businesses to show interest in implementing the National Ride to Work Scheme, please visit swisse.com/ridetowork to stay in touch, share information and provide support as Swisse launches this exciting scheme.