€1,000 voucher scheme could be of major benefit to workers

RAISING the annual tax-free cap on gift vouchers given as rewards to workers from €500 to €1,000 would be of major benefit to SIPTU members, according to Me2You, the only Irish-owned and unionised gift card providers.

Among the Me2You team is Pat Daly, who was formerly a long-serving SIPTU shop steward in a large multi-national company.

He told Liberty: “SIPTU has publicly called for the cap on such rewards for workers to rise. It is hoped that Budget 2023 will include this measure. Providing gift vouchers is the most tax-efficient way to reward staff for employers, and results in more value for workers.

“That Me2You is a SIPTU-organised workplace, which has developed its links with the union over recent years and is a member of the Supporting Quality campaign, means it is the obvious card for shop stewards to recommend during negotiations on pay. It is also the simplest card to use in the Irish market as it does not require a PIN.”

He added: “If a shop steward is in negotiations, I would encourage them to consider seeking reward and recognition payments as vouchers rather than cash, where you will pay up to half of it back in tax. It is a way to ensure you get up to €500 – and perhaps shortly €1,000 – tax free, into the hands of your members.

“Shop stewards should also talk to their HR officials during talks and ask them to try Me2You. Once they have started utilising them, I think they will want to stay with it.”

He added: “We are also the only voucher which can be used in a nationwide fuel chain and uniquely in local businesses which have also signed up to the scheme.”

In April, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack, called for the value of the vouchers permitted to double from €500 as workers struggle to cope with energy hikes. He said higher-value vouchers could be used as bargaining tools with employers where pay deals that do not keep pace with inflation have already been agreed.

Me2You Managing Director, John Wall, said: “Our company is constantly developing new products to make our cards work as even better rewards for workers. These include the development of a Recognition and Reward Employee Engagement Software, which allows for a joint employer and worker reward system to be established. (“The cards are also usable in the Bike2You scheme which is run in conjunction with the bike to work scheme) Me2You also operate a bike to work scheme, Bikes2You.ie. We have also established local card schemes in Carlow, Athlone and Laois and elsewhere which ensure that monies provided are spent with retailers within the local economy.”

A Me2You gift card can be used in more than 5,000 local stores across the country, including; Smyths Toys, Tesco, Applegreen service stations, Arnotts, Penneys, Brown Thomas, Harvey Norman, Compu b (now Select), Currys PC World, Boots, M&S, TK Maxx plus so many more. The large selection of retail partners means that there is something for everyone, whether it is used for everyday essentials or more luxury purchases.

This first appeared in SIPTU Liberty September 2022.