As the worst of the pandemic seems to have passed and many tentatively return to the workplace, the journey from home to work is, once again, becoming a large part of people’s daily routine.
With this in mind, a study carried out by human resources company Securex shows that only 4% of the Belgian workforce has a travel allowance. Importantly, half of those who have a company car say that a travel allowance would be a preferable alternative. As the working world readjusts post-pandemic and the balance between work and leisure is reconsidered, the transition between the two is again being called into question.
"For employers thinking about the ways we commute and new systems of remuneration, this is an important observation to take into account," affirms Guillaume Bosmans, researcher at Securex.
20% of employees have no travel allowance and a quarter of those that use a company car (which itself is 23% of Belgian employees) would be willing to exchange the car for a travel allowance, which offers more flexibility. Moreover, the wider benefits for the environment and congestion make alternative modes of transport more attractive, from both an economic and a health perspective.
From 2025, stricter regulations will come into force regarding company cars, making them more expensive for employers. With this in mind, the choice to offer an alternative travel allowance would both prove popular with employees as well as make financial sense for the companies themselves.
The study, conducted by Securex in May 2021, surveyed 1512 employees and found that the most-cited motivation for employees to give up company cars was the desire to optimise their salary with additional benefits (41% of respondents). Possible benefits that could replace company cars include subscriptions to public transport and the provision of company bicycles.
Particularly popular alternatives are a payment for the distance travelled to work or, which is similar, a payment for each commute. Three in ten respondents were enthusiastic about these options, which would give the individual more independence to choose how they travel to work without obliging them to make use of a vehicle for journeys that can often be made more efficient by other modes of transport.