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Making it easier for your people to buy e-bikes

Transport in New Zealand has a significant carbon footprint and congestion is a regular experience for many. Most of our trips are taken by private vehicles, the majority of which are shorter than 5kms in urban areas. To reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of our transport system, we need to think innovatively about alternative ways to get around. Uptake of e-bikes is one example of how our urban mobility is changing, but they are relatively expensive.

Employer e-bike purchase support schemes are helping many more people to purchase e-bikes by addressing the key barrier of the upfront cost.  They work through employers negotiating a discount from an e-bike supplier and then providing a wage advance or loan to staff, paid back through salary deductions over a set period.

Important note: Legislation prohibits many public sector organisations from lending money. For these organisations, workplace e-bike schemes need to be adapted to remove the salary advance or loan features. Financing offers through suppliers or payroll deductions directly to suppliers can be alternatives. Each public sector organisation should seek their own legal advice on whether or not they are able to offer a salary advance or loan to their employees.

Making a difference

E-bikes are proving to be a healthier, quicker, cheaper, and lower carbon transport option that appeal to a broad range of people in New Zealand. These schemes are supporting uptake.

Results from organisations that have already rolled them out suggest that once people own their own e-bike, they are revolutionising how they get around.

Here are the views of some of those buying e-bikes through these schemes:

“I haven’t used my car since (buying the e-bike).”

“It’s so great, definitely puts paid to the headwind!”

“I can’t thank ‘my employer’ enough for this initiative.”

“A definite recommend.”

“It’s now my only mode of transport to and from work.”

In addition, the cost and carbon savings are impressive. For example, annual savings for a single e-bike commuter, based on replacing a 12 km each way car commute, are estimated at $900 and nearly one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions.

Check out how Tauranga City Council has seen excellent uptake of e-bikes by their people. 

About this guide

This guide provides organisations with all the basics to make the decision on, and then to implement, an employer e-bike purchase support scheme.

This includes information that helps in:

  • developing a business case, including the range of benefits for the organisation, and a proposal
  • selecting and working with a suitable e-bike supplier
  • deciding on, and setting up, the financing approach and the repayment process
  • engaging with employees throughout the process.

The guide includes a suite of supporting resources, such as checklists and templates, which facilitate the process (see Support resources below).

Questions and answers about these schemes

This section provides answers to many key questions. Download a printed version [PDF, 144 KB] of the questions and answers.

  • Introductory questions
    1. Why is the government involved in promoting e-bike uptake?
      The purpose of New Zealand’s transport system is to improve people’s wellbeing and the liveability of places. Among the targeted outcomes are environmental sustainability (including a low carbon transport system) and healthy people. E-bikes support both of these core outcomes. When replacing car use, e-bikes deliver a significant carbon ‘saving’. And by doing so they help people to become more active, especially those people who would not be willing or able to use non-powered bikes.

    2. What is an employer e-bike purchase support scheme?
      This is a new type of scheme emerging in New Zealand. It involves an organisation facilitating a bulk buy of e-bikes for its employees (and possibly its own fleet too) at a discounted price. Participating employees receive a salary advance or loan (of up to $2000) towards their e-bike purchase, which they then pay back through automatic deductions from their salary over the course of an agreed period (eg a year). Effectively this is an interest-free loan.

      Such schemes have been used recently by multiple organisations, including Tauranga City Council and Whakatāne District Council. The schemes have been successful in overcoming the financial barrier to purchasing an e-bike while also providing multiple other benefits to participating employees (health and wellbeing, time savings, emissions reductions) and their organisations (emissions reductions, mobility for meetings, fewer sick days, team morale, healthier employees).

      Important note: Legislation prohibits many public sector organisations from lending money. For these organisations, workplace e-bike schemes need to be adapted to remove the salary advance or loan features. Financing offers through suppliers or payroll deductions directly to suppliers can be alternatives. Each public sector organisation should seek their own legal advice on whether or not they are able to offer a salary advance or loan to their employees.

    3. Who is involved?
      Three key groups or entities are needed to create a successful e-bike purchase support scheme: the organisation itself, participating employees and an e-bike supplier.

    4. Why would an organisation consider introducing one?
      Employer e-bike purchase support schemes achieve multiple outcomes at once. A key one is that they help to overcome the barrier of high upfront cost, by spreading the cost over time. They deliver a tangible benefit for employees in facilitating a purchase that in turn enables better employee health and wellbeing outcomes, as well as commuting time and cost savings. These benefits are available across age groups and flow through to employees’ workplaces.

      As well as the health and productivity of their employees, such schemes also deliver benefits more directly to organisations. When e-bikes (either personal or fleet) are used for work-based travel (i.e. to meetings), they enable time and cost savings for the organisation, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, contributing to corporate sustainability goals.

    5. What is the business case?
      The surprising thing about an e-bike purchase support scheme is that its costs are minimal. Some administration time is necessary to organise and manage the scheme.This is typically met as a special project through existing teams or personnel, including finance, payroll, HR & sustainability.

      The other main financial cost is allocating the interest foregone by advancing salary or providing a preferential (typically zero) rate loan to employees.

      On the other hand, the benefits that accrue to employees and to the organisation can be significant (although hard to quantify). There is substantial evidence showing the health benefits of regular cycling, including e-bike use (see this Forbes article(external link) for examples), but what is harder to assess is how that translates into quantifiable benefits for employers. But it’s reasonable to assume a healthier workforce is a more engaged and has fewer sick days. 

    6. How does the payment process work?
      Typically, the organisation provides a salary advance or loan payment (with no or low interest) to the participating employee (of up to $2,000) which is used to pay the e-bike supplier.

      For the salary advance approach, $2000 is the maximum amount that organisations can advance to their employees without incurring Fringe Benefit Tax (see p23 of Internal Revenue’s FBT guide here). The employee uses the funds to pay the e-bike supplier.

      For the loan approach, there is no maximum amount although $2,000 is a typical figure. If the loan is provided at a preferential rate then the benefit is liable to FBT.

      An employee paying back this amount ($2000) over the course of a year (eg 26 fortnights), at zero interest rate, would incur a salary deduction of approximately$80 per fortnight. The FBT liability for the employer, per participant employee, would be approximately $30 for the year (based on zero interest loan to the employee and a prescribed rate of 5.77%).

    7. What are the keys to a successful scheme?
      For the procuring organisation, there are three key considerations:

      (a) To batch together employee purchases (or bulk buy) to receive the best deal (discount) from your e-bike supplier. This requires organising trial/demo days and announcing ‘a window’ with an end-date for employees to place their order.

      (b) To organise relevant teams within the organization most likely Human Resources, Payroll & Finance – to facilitate a smooth purchase and repayment process. Gaining support from one or more senior managers is key.

      (c) To have really clear and engaging communications with employees, from the right level, to initially gain interest and then make the process easy.

      For participants in a scheme, the key consideration is to have sufficient information on available e-bike options and the opportunity to test ride them during a trial/demo day. E-bikes are encouraging people to cycle who are not comfortable or enthusiastic about conventional cycling.

      For e-bike suppliers, clarity around timings and expectations (eg of trial/demo days, purchase windows) is key. Thankfully, many e-bike suppliers are becoming familiar with these schemes and are set up to provide accordingly.
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  • About e-bikes
    1. What is an e-bike? Are all e-bikes the same?
      An e-bike is distinct from a conventional bike because it has a motor (typically in the rear wheel hub or connected to the crankshaft/pedal component), a battery (typically in the frame or above the back wheel), and a control unit on the handle bar.

      E-bikes ride, and often look, like regular bikes. But electric bikes can carry you further and faster, with less effort (and sweat!). The range of e-bikes depends on the battery capacity and age. Typically they provide a range of 40kms, but this varies according to topography (hills) and desired speed.

      There are multiple e-bike options available, including commuter/city-riding e-bikes, off-road e-bikes, cargo e-bikes, foldable e-bikes, etc. Organisations should ask potential suppliers about the range of e-bikes they are able to provide at a discounted price. Employees interested in participating in a scheme should be offered options that suit their requirements and preferences.

      As e-bikes come in a range of styles they have broader appeal. People in some demographics (eg older people) may well be attracted to e-bikes, but not non-powered bikes.

    2. How much do e-bikes cost?
      Good quality e-bikes for commuter/city-riding purposes start from approximately $2,000$2,500 and range up to $5000 (with some premium models almost double that). There are also mountain e-bikes and specialist (eg foldable, cargo) e-bikes available in New Zealand.

      Some models are available for under $2,000 but these are generally not recommended as they usually have lower quality components. The old adage applies – ‘you get what you pay for’. In terms of running costs, e-bikes are very low cost. To fully charge an e-bike battery from empty only uses about 10-15c worth of electricity, which provides about 40km of range. So running costs per 1000kms are in the range $2.50 and $3.75 (compared with about $220 for a mid-range petrol car). Associated carbon dioxide emissions over the same distance have been estimated at approximately 1kg (compared with 245kg for a car).
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  • Eligibility
    1. Who can buy e-bikes in this kind of scheme?
      In general, the e-bike purchase support scheme is aimed at permanent employees (ie those who receive a salary). They are able to take advantage of the salary advance or loan and spread the cost of purchase over time.

      But others, such as contractors and family members of employees, could be offered the opportunity to place an order and receive the bulk buy discount. However, they would need to make full payment at the time of purchase.

    2. Why are only e-bikes covered in these schemes?
      The prime purpose of the scheme is to overcome the barrier of the higher costs of e-bikes, by providing the salary advance to enable purchase.

      Whilst there is nothing in principle preventing organisations from providing a salary advance for a bulk purchase of conventional bikes, or a combination of conventional and e-bikes, cost of conventional bikes is not typically a barrier. A key argument in favour of targeting this scheme at e-bikes is their superior capacity to induce new people to cycling and to displace car trips, both for commutes and for work meetings, compared with conventional bikes.
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  • Further details and considerations
    1. Who provides the e-bikes?
      The e-bikes are supplied by a single retailer (supplier) that the organisation has chosen to purchase through.

      The chosen supplier should be one that can meet the requirements of the managing organisations’ scheme. These requirements typically include offering demo rides/ trial days, a bulk buy discount; good range of models and available stock; and post-purchase support. One further consideration for organisations may be the range of e-bikes a supplier can offer discounts on as part of the deal.

      To maximise the bulk buy discount and simplify the contractual arrangement, employees are therefore not free to choose an e-bike from any retailer.

    2. What are the health and safety considerations?
      Organisations only have liability under the Health & Safety at Work Act when the employee is carrying out a task for the organisation (eg riding to a meeting). Commuting is not captured under this Act. There are several ways– including online learning modules, test-rides & safety programmes – through which organisations can help ensure the safety of employees while they use e-bikes for work purposes.

      It is good practice for organisations providing e-bikes through this type of scheme to ensure that its e-bike supplier provides appropriate safe cycling advice (including a full safety briefing) as part of the process.

      For more information check out the BikeReady(external link) programme and the Staying safe section.

    3. What are the infrastructure considerations?
      In general, workplaces looking to encourage or accommodate cycling should provide secure storage facilities for the bikes of their employees during the day. Lockers, changing rooms and showers are also highly valued by cyclists. As you might expect, these remain the main requirements of e-bikers too.

      Three things that may be worth consideration in conjunction with an e-bike bulk purchasing scheme for employees are:
      (a) Locations for charging batteries (standard 3-pin sockets)
      (b) Expanded parking areas, and
      (c) Bike stands and racks suitable for e-bikes.

      The former is probably unsurprising although it may be less of a requirement for general commuters, as e-bikes can typically travel at least 40kms before needing a charge (actual range depends on the use of the motor which varies depending on topography and desired speed). E-bike batteries can also be disconnected and removed from the bike, enabling charging at desks or in offices. 

      Consideration may also be needed on expanding existing bike parking areas, as e-biking has proven attractive to a range of demographics (age groups and fitness levels) that aren’t known for their inclination towards conventional cycling. Further, many e-bikes are just that bit bigger and bulkier than most conventional bikes, requiring slightly more space to manoeuvre them comfortably.

      The Cycling parking and planning and design guide provides more detailed information on bike parking.

    4. Which organisations have already tried this scheme in New Zealand? what did they find?
      As of May 2019, e-bike purchase support schemes have been introduced by several organisations, including Tauranga City Council (TCC). An e-bike bulk purchase scheme (with upfront payment) has also been implemented for students and employees of Massey University.

      In 2017, TCC led the way with the first known e-bike purchase support scheme in New Zealand. Its scheme resulted in over 50 employees purchasing an e-bike.

      Of those who participated, 58% now ride to work 4-5 days a week. An additional 24% riding 2-3 days a week. 72% of participants used to travel to work primarily by car. 100% of TCC’s survey participants would recommend others try riding an e-bike to work!

      While almost all (92%) of participants now use their bikes to commute, significant percentages are also using them for leisure & social activity (51%) and exercise (38%).

    5. How much will these schemes help with reducing carbon emissions?
      There is strong evidence that these types of schemes are having a significant positive impact. For example, of the 39 respondents to Tauranga City Council’s post-purchase survey, 72% (28 people) had replaced their car commute (of average length 12km) with an e-bike commute.

      Assuming 225 working days in a year, those 28 people will together emit about 200kg of carbon dioxide from their commute over the year, compared to about 35,000kg by car! Together their running costs sum to about $450 (electricity for charging), rather than around $30,000 for the petrol to run their cars.

    6. Can an organisation piggy-back on these schemes to purchase e-bikes for fleet?
      Absolutely! Tauranga City Council did so and saved itself enough to offset the cost of the interest it lost through advancing salary to its employees for their own e-bike purchases. Auckland Council has also purchased e-bikes for its fleet, spurring interest and enthusiasm for e-bike ownership amongst its employees.
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  • Special consideration for public sector organisations
    1. What is special consideration?
      Legislation prohibits many public sector organisations from lending money (specifically the Public Finance Act and the Crown Entities Act). For these organisations, workplace e-bike schemes need to be adapted to remove the salary advance or loan features. Financing offers through suppliers can be an alternative. Each public sector organisation should seek their own legal advice on whether or not they are able to offer a salary advance or loan to their employees.
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How to implement a scheme

This section provides all the detail to help you make the decision on, and then to implement, an employer e-bike purchase support scheme. 

Use this checklist [PDF, 130 KB] to help you through the process. 

Discover and decide

  • A basic outline of the scheme

    An employer e-bike purchase support scheme involves an organisation facilitating a bulk purchase of e-bikes for its employees (and possibly its own fleet too) at a discounted price. An e-bike supplier is chosen who can meet the needs of the organisation, typically including discounts, ‘Have a go’ sessions, and good support.

    Some organisations may also encourage take-up by providing employees with a wage advance or loan (typically up to $2000) towards their e-bike purchase, which they then pay back through automatic deductions from their salary over the course of an agreed period (eg a year). Generally, this option is not available to the core public service. However alternative financing arrangements with suppliers can achieve the same result.

    More information:
    E-bikes
    E-bike buyer’s guide(external link) (Consumer.org.nz)

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  • Benefits for employees

    Owning an e-bike offers the benefits of healthier, quicker, cheaper, and low carbon transport. For many e-bike owners, it has become their preferred commute mode, often replacing car use. An employer purchase support scheme reduces the financial barrier of finding several thousand dollars to buy an e-bike.

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  • Benefits for the organisation

    As an organisation, the scheme is a tangible way to support health, wellbeing and sustainability goals. Staff that are more active are typically healthier, so the organisation may benefit from fewer sick days and a more alert workforce. Supporting employees to replace car travel with e-bike use is an effective way for an employer to contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and congestion.

    In terms of benefits for a business case, they can be harder to quantify in financial terms. However, there is substantial evidence showing the health benefits of regular cycling (see Forbes article(external link) for examples). It is reasonable to assume a healthier workforce is a more engaged one and has fewer sick days. In addition, if the bulk buy of e-bikes includes bikes for an organisational fleet, then the savings from buying more in bulk can be used as a benefit – this approach has been used by at least one NZ organisation so far. For many organisations, providing a scheme will support its corporate social responsibility and sustainability objectives.  

    Above anything else, the main benefit to an employer is likely to be improved morale from employees that appreciate the support to transform their everyday transport choices, which can otherwise be limited, expensive and frustrating.

    In summary, the key benefits for an organisation are:

    • Easy to set-up (especially with this guide).
    • Low cost.
    • Supports employee wellbeing and workplace sustainability goals.
    • Popular with employees.
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  • Key considerations for the organisation

    There is the need to administer the scheme, including setting up the financial process, co-ordinating with your chosen supplier and your staff. This guide is designed to ease the administration burden. Typically, the scheme can be run as a mini special project within the Human Resources/People department, involving other teams as required (eg finance, payroll, sustainability). A project sponsor and project champion is needed to drive the project forward.

    If there is a financing option used (salary advance or loan), there will either be no or a small direct financial impact to the business. If a wage advance approach is used then there is unlikely to be Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) implication, providing the advance amount does not exceed $2,000. See relevant IRD information:

    Fringe benefit tax(external link) (IRD website)

    If an employee loan approach is used, then there will be FBT implications if a preferential interest rate, or no interest, is offered. For example, a $2,000 interest free loan paid back at $80 per fortnight over 25 weeks would cost around $30 FBT.

    Fringe benefit tax annual calculator  [XLSX, 38 KB]

    Providing secure storage facilities for staff to park their bikes is important. Typically, bike parking is something that is already provided by organisations interested in setting up an e-bike scheme, but depending on numbers involved, it may need extending following the scheme roll-out.

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  • Examples to showcase the opportunity

    Several large organisations have implemented this type of scheme.

    Tauranga City Council led the way in late 2017. Its scheme resulted in over 50 employees purchasing an e-bike. Of those who participated in a follow-up survey, 58% reported riding to work 4 or 5 days a week. An additional 24% riding 2 or 3 days a week. And 72% of participants reported that they previously used to travel to work primarily by car. 

    In the terms of carbon and cost, the results from the Tauranga City Council’s survey were very positive.  The survey suggested that annual savings for each e-bike commuter, based on replacing a 12 km car commute, were estimated at $900 and nearly one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions.

    Case study on the Tauranga City Council experience 

    We acknowledge Tauranga City Council and its e-bike supplier, Electrify NZ(external link), for sharing information on the scheme.

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  • Assessing interest levels of your employees

    The two key questions to answer before embarking on the scheme, are:

    • what is the level of interest among your people in buying e-bikes, and
    • how much of an issue is affordability? 

    As an employer, you may already have a reasonable understanding of your people’s commute patterns, and the options available to them. Perhaps you already include a commute question in a regular staff survey. If not, now is a good time to find out, and include a question or two about e-bikes as part of that process.

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  • The optimal time to introduce a scheme

    No prizes for thinking that summer time is when most people will think about the option of cycling to work. Therefore, preferably, introducing a scheme needs to be aligned with that opportunity.

    Allowing sufficient time for setting up the scheme, working with the chosen supplier, promoting to staff and managing the sign-ups, this really means that it’s best to have made a decision to proceed with the scheme sometime between August and November (the earlier the better). This should enable the e-bikes to be available during the summer months (ideally before Christmas).

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  • Selecting the e-bike supplier

    A key decision to make is your e-bike supplier. There are important criteria when making that decision. These are outlined below. The criteria are not definitive or mandatory – an organisation will have its own priorities and decide which are of greater importance.

    First, the supplier needs to be able and willing to offer a suitable range of e-bikes and offer discounts. The discount will usually be dependent on the number of e-bikes ordered.

    The supplier will also need to have an adequate supply of bikes in stock so they can cater for your bulk purchase. For organisations with offices in multiple parts of the country, a supplier should be able to supply bikes in all areas.

    Another critical requirement is the willingness to coordinate and run at least one ‘Have a go’ event, giving employees the chance to try out the range of e-bikes on offer. The experience of riding an e-bike is often the decisive factor in the purchasing decision.

    To encourage employee sign-up, the offer is best run for a limited time (eg one month after the ‘Have a go’ day). This helps when there is volume-based pricing.

    It is also advisable that the supplier offers a full briefing (including safety) to purchasers on collection, and post-purchase support for the first 3-6 months after purchase, including a complementary full service in that period.

    And, finally, the supplier needs to offer good support to the organisation during the full process.

    The organisation will need to confirm in writing the specific pricing and service details with the supplier as well as the invoicing or financing process. The supplier should also agree to supply information about who has purchased the bikes, so organisations can crosscheck with employee agreements.

    To facilitate the selection of an e-bike supplier, we have prepared a checklist that identifies the key considerations when selecting the e-bike supplier. This assists both the employer (organisation) and the supplier. 

    Summary of the key requirements of e-bike suppliers [PDF, 118 KB]

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  • Developing a proposal for approval

    The information above provides the background for developing a proposal. To make it easier we have consolidated the key points into a template proposal. It provides the basis for developing a full proposal, with additional organisation-specific information added as required.

    The proposal is most likely to be successful if it gains support from a member of the senior leadership team, who can champion it across the organisation. The proposal itself may be led by any part of the organisation, but involvement of other key teams or managers (eg sustainability, administration, finance, payroll) is recommended.

    Canvassing interest from your employees is also worthwhile, to understand indicative demand.

    Proposal template [DOCX, 39 KB]

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Setup and rollout

  • Developing the financing and payment process

    This requires the lead department to co-ordinate the relevant groups across the organisation. There needs to be general agreement on the roles and key process features.

    For those staff who elect to finance the purchase rather than pay outright for the e-bike, the payment flows need to be agreed.  There are two main approaches for the employer:

    • A wage advance
    • An employee loan

    Each organisation should seek its own legal/taxation advice to confirm which option is best suited.  (As noted earlier, many public sector organisations are not legally allowed to offer a wage advance or employee loan. Financing offers through the supplier can be an alternative.)

    A wage advance involves the employer providing an advance of up to $2,000 into the employees’ bank account, enabling them to pay for the e-bike directly with the e-bike supplier. This is unlikely to be subject to Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT), providing the advance is no more than $2,000. See relevant IRD information:

    Fringe benefit tax on low-interest loans(external link) (IRD website)

    An employee loan involves the employer paying for the e-bikes on behalf of the employees. If the loan involves a preferential interest rate (eg zero interest) then this is liable for FBT. The preferential interest rate is discretionary, but recommended to incentivise uptake. Typically, roles involved in the employee loan option are:

    • Payroll: set up deduction for repaying interest-free loans
    • Finance: calculate and include in FBT returns, monitor loan repayments
    • Accounts payable (finance): organise payments to suppliers for the purchases 

    A calculator for loan repayments, interest and FBT liability is available:

    Fringe benefit tax annual calculator [XLSX, 38 KB]

    If the wage advance option is used then a clear process needs to be agreed with the supplier (eg through an invoicing arrangement), whereby payment is made by the employer once the employee has confirmed collection of the e-bike. The employee will also need to provide any shortfall payment (eg if the discounted price is $2,250 and the funding provision is $2,000, then the employee needs to provide $250 on collection). 

    If the loan option (with preferential rate) is used then it is highly recommended that the supplier provide the employer with a list of those who have purchased e-bikes through the arrangement. Alternatively, the employee could provide proof of purchase to the employer. Either way the employer could then follow-up with any loanee employees who have not yet purchased a bike.

    The employee sign-up process needs to be agreed. Base it on a simple agreement such as the Employee sign-up agreement template [DOCX, 21 KB].

    The agreement defines the following, as a minimum:

    • the type and price of the chosen e-bike
    • the supplier
    • the payment and collection process
    • type of scheme (wage advance or employee loan)
    • requirements of employees
    • relevant contributions from the employer (repayable component) and employee (shortfall payment component).

    The agreement will also cover exceptional circumstances (eg if the employee leaves the organisation prior to paying off the full amount). The employee agreement may need to include a caveat whereby final price is confirmed once total order numbers are known (as a minimum, the agreement should show the price range).

    It is advisable that the supplier provides a pro-forma listing the e-bikes available, their pricing, and the discounts offered (including volume-based options if relevant). The employee can then just select their chosen e-bike model, including any preferences (eg colour).

    The sign-up process will be open for a certain period after the ‘Have a go’ days (eg one or two months). A limited period is recommended so that employees are encouraged to make a decision, and as the supplier pricing may depend on order volume.

    Based on the collated sign-ups, the organisation places the full order with the supplier. 

    Note: the scheme targets employees, but the organisation could also offer contract staff the opportunity to take part, and also family members of employees. However, these would be based on upfront payment of the full purchase price (less any agreed discount) rather than through a repayment approach.

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  • Employee engagement

    Once the decision to introduce the scheme has been made, then the approach to engaging staff should be discussed and agreed as soon as possible, preferably with the communications team.

    The specifics will depend on organisational preferences and capabilities, but several key features are recommended.

    As mentioned earlier, holding at least one ‘Have a go’ event with the e-bike suppliers is crucial. This should be timed to enable as many staff as possible to attend.

    Prior to the ‘Have-a-go’ event(s), the idea of the e-bike scheme should be socialised and promoted to employees, through appropriate channels. Both printed and online methods are recommended, including the organisation’s intranet and social media staff groups. These should highlight the key benefits of e-bikes, the key features of the scheme, and frequently asked questions. Sharing case studies with first-hand accounts of e-bike purchase is also valuable. The aim will be to inform employees prior to the ‘Have-a-go’ events, so that they are primed to sign-up at or soon after the event.

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  • The ‘Have a go’ events

    As mentioned above, these are critical. The experience of riding an e-bike is often an eye-opener – it’s rare for the first ride not to be accompanied by a big grin at the end.

    Holding these events at, or close to, the workplace and during the working day is best. The employer and supplier need to liaise on the details.

    If the scheme is available across multiple work sites, then hold at least one ‘Have a go’ event at each site.

    The employees should be able to try out a range of e-bikes to get the right weight, power and fit for them. The supplier will be available to provide advice and answer technical questions. The employer’s scheme manager also should be available to talk about the scheme details. This is a prime opportunity to encourage employees to sign-up, or at least register interest.

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  • Sign-up process for employees

    The sign-up process should be open for a limited period after the ‘Have a go’ event(s). A limited period encourages employees to make a decision. In addition,  supplier pricing may depend on order volume.

    During this period the employees should complete the sign-up agreement form (on paper or electronically, depending on employer preference), as outlined above.

    In the sign-up/agreement form the employee will indicate their e-bike selection (using supplier pro-forma when available). The employee will sign the form to confirm the go ahead, and acceptance of all the conditions (eg monthly repayment amount, payment of any shortfall amount, any price variation depending on the final bulk purchase quantity).

    Employee sign-up agreement template [DOCX, 21 KB]

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  • Placing the order with the supplier

    There are different ordering approaches, such as the employer collating all orders (recommended) or the employees making individual orders with the supplier.

    At the end of the sign-up period, the employer will place the full order with the supplier, including finalising the pricing based on quantity ordered. The supplier may wish to require a deposit at this stage.

    The employer (or supplier) then informs the employees that orders have been confirmed, including the final price. This is also a good time to provide information on safety considerations, to supplement the safety briefing which the supplier will provide on pick-up.

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  • E-bike collection and payment

    There are various options around the collection and payment processes.

    It is easier for the supplier to liaise directly with the employee when their e-bike is ready for collection. On collection, the employee should have a test ride and the supplier should provide a full briefing, including safety considerations. The supplier should also confirm when to bring in the e-bike for a service (eg after two months).

    Where the employer is paying, the employee needs to sign to confirm collection, which the supplier can then pass on to the employer.

    On receipt of the pick-up confirmation then the employer can settle the outstanding payment with the supplier.

    If this has not already been initiated then the employer can then set-up the monthly salary deduction.

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  • Providing for e-bikes and their riders

    The employer should already have been thinking about the potential impact of many more e-bike commuters. Now is the time to make any changes to accommodate them.

    Other sections of this Workplace Cycle Guide provide advice on providing for people with bikes at your workplace. For example, health and safety advice and facilities.

    The key one will be providing sufficient secure storage space. This may be an opportunity to re-allocate some of your parking space, to accommodate more bike parking. After all, one of the main purposes of the scheme is to reduce commuting by car.

    One car parking space should easily accommodate bike racks for six to eight e-bikes.  E-bikes are generally slightly larger (wider) than conventional bikes, so that is an additional consideration. See Cycling parking and planning and design guide for more detailed information.

    Other considerations are storage space (eg lockers) for bike accessories and clothing, drying area (for clothes), and showers (although most e-bike rides are ‘sweat free’).

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  • Workplace e-bike training and safe cycling

    To support your e-bike purchase scheme, your organisation may want to promote cycle skills training to those taking up the purchase offer. BikeReady is the national cycling education system, and there are qualified providers around the country that can deliver e-bike specific training. For more information, check out www.bikeready.govt.nz(external link).

    Organisations only have liability under the Health & Safety at Work Act when the employee is carrying out a task for the organisation (eg riding to a meeting). Commuting is not captured under this Act.  However, it is good practice for organisations providing e-bikes through this type of scheme to ensure that its e-bike supplier provides appropriate safe cycling advice (including a full safety briefing) as part of the process.

    Further guidance on employer responsibilities is available in the Workplace Cycling Guide Staying safe section.

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Support resources

Process checklist [PDF, 130 KB]
Lists all the key steps involved in setting up a purchase support scheme.

Supplier checklist [PDF, 118 KB]
Lists the considerations for employers when selecting the e-bike supplier.

Financing and repayment options comparison [PDF, 119 KB]
Shows the differences between the wage advance and employee loan finance options.

Financing costs calculator [XLSX, 38 KB]
Estimates the finance costs and FBT liabilities. (Note: used at the user’s own risk.)

Proposal template [DOCX, 39 KB]
A template for use to seek formal approval for a scheme.

Employee sign-up agreement template [DOCX, 21 KB]
A template for use to sign-up employees to a scheme.

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