Benefits and rewards banner

Aston University recognises the need to enhance the work life balance of employees and as such offers a range of benefits and rewards. From enhancing Health & Wellbeing to Salary Sacrifice Benefits, Financial Planning Assistance to Staff discounts as well as staff development and recognition. Please see the full range of benefits below.

 

  

 

Salary Sacrifice

Please select the correct Pension Scheme for your grade for more information:

Aston University Nursery was founded in 1973 with a commitment to provide the highest standard of care and education.

The Salary Conversion Scheme for the Aston University Nursery has been set up to provide Tax and National Insurance savings.  Please see below for more information on this and the Nursery.

Cycle to Work is open to all employees.  By introducing a salary conversion scheme for the provision of bicycles, we can provide a bicycle for commuting and associated safety equipment free of income tax and national insurance.

Staff car parking is limited on campus. We operate a scheme where car parking charges are deducted from your salary but there is a waiting list and we cannot guarantee spaces.

In the future, we will be reducing the number of car park spaces as part of our exciting development plans for the campus and following the Clean Air Zone proposals around Birmingham city centre.

Aston University is centrally located and there are many alternative transport links. You can visit our website https://www2.aston.ac.uk/about/directions to find out more about train, bus and coach transport and cycle routes into the University. Through our Cycle to Work scheme you can purchase bike and safety equipment free of income tax and national insurance.

Under the Flexible Benefits Scheme, instead of the car park charges being collected from your net pay, you may exchange an amount of gross salary that is equivalent to the charge. The result being that you will pay less National Insurance, thereby reducing the cost of car park charges.

We have been looking at ways of promoting charitable giving through the payroll and to provide the most effective way of making tax savings on donations.  Set out below are two methods that will enable you to make charitable donations.

 1. Give As You Earn (GAYE) - A way of making donations to a charity of your choice and receiving immediate tax relief

If you wish to make donations or require any further information please go to the  Charitable Giving Website where you will find full details and an application form to complete if you wish to participate.

2. Flexible Benefits Scheme - Salary conversion for donations to Aston University to support students. 

Further information and an Aston University – Charitable Donations Salary Conversion Opt In Form can be found here.  

The scheme allows you to purchase up to an additional 5 days or 36.5 hours annual leave per year, giving you additional flexibility to planned time off. The other great thing is you can split the salary reductions over a twelve month period, making it easier for you to manage your budget.

Please note that managers can only approve requests which ensure that business needs can still be met.

The scheme is available for all professional support staff whose annual leave year starts on 1st April.


Update 23/03/2020:

Please note that in response to the current challenges we are facing with COVID-19 and the uncertainty around working arrangements, we are unfortunately taking the decision to remove the option of staff purchasing annual leave via the annual leave purchase scheme. We will review the situation in the coming months with the possibility of making the scheme available again later in the year.

The new Low Emission Car Lease Scheme offers employees the opportunity to be provided with a new car benefiting from corporate discounts and savings on Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NIC). The car scheme will only offer cars with low CO2 emissions (120g/km or less).

For more information on this scheme click on the links below and visit the  SS4C website.

    

Health & Wellbeing 

  • Have you got 2020 vision? Free eye exam and contact lens checks during term time

All Aston University staff and family members are able to book an eye examination and contact lens check free of charge at the Aston Eye Clinic. If you would like a free eye examination and/or assessment for contact lens suitability, please call 0121 204 3900 or book an appointment online using MySight.

Not only will you receive a free eye health check and spectacle prescription if needed, but you will also be supporting our Optometry students - who are required to see patients throughout their final year.  They are supervised in clinic by our experienced and qualified Staff optometrists to ensure you get the best possible service – a real ‘win-win’.

  •  Spectacles Serviced free of charge

All Aston staff can have their current spectacles serviced free of charge in our Aston Eye Clinic. This can involve cleaning, screws tightened, nose pads repaired/replaced and frames adjusted to fit correctly and comfortably.

As we are preparing to re-brand we will also provide you with a new case, lens cloth and small cleaning set. These items are available whilst stocks last. Appointments commence from the 20 of January until the 27 of March. To book an appointment please call 0121 204 3900 or email eyecare@aston.ac.uk.

EAP logo

Aston has partnered with PAM Assist to bring you a new Employee Assistance Programme.

They provide confidential support for various matters, including:

  • Managing money
  • Having a family
  • Moving house
  • Personal life
  • Retirement
  • Work life
  • Returning to work after a break
  • Family crises
  • Personal crises
  • Healthy Choices
  • Illness

They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can make use of them by calling 0800 882 4102 or going to  www.pamassist.co.uk

Username: Aston

Password: Aston1

More information on the way PAM Assist works can be found by watching these videos:  https://www.pamgrouptv.co.uk/ or via these  presentation slides.

A BHSF health cash plan enables employees to receive cash payments towards everyday healthcare costs.

A BHSF health cash plan can help with the cost of:

  • Dental treatment
  • Eyesight tests, new glasses or contact lenses
  • Professional therapy treatments
  • Diagnostic health consultations
  • Plus many more benefits
  • An EAP to help with the stresses and strains of modern day life
  • Personal accident and injury benefit

 A BHSF health cash plan can also include:

  • An  EAP to help with the stresses and strains of modern day life
  • Personal accident and injury benefit

https://www.bhsf.co.uk/personal/health-cash-plan/

Network Benefits 

Low cost life cover can be provided.

Specific cover on cancer diagnosis is also available.

   

Recognition

The new recognition scheme has been designed to provide managers with the flexibility and autonomy to recognise individuals and whole teams ‘in the moment’. 

These annual Awards celebrate the amazing work carried out by Aston staff every day, commending the dedication and commitment shown within Schools and Departments to our research, students, and to the University as a whole. 

Details of all of the Awards, and the nomination procedures, can be found at  www.aston.ac.uk/about/awards/

 

  

Development 

Aston University and The Skills Network are currently working together to offer Learners access to fully funded Level 2 qualifications via distance learning.  For further details of the courses available and to enrol on a course visit https://astonuniversity.theskillsnetwork.com/

Apprenticeships can now be accessed by anyone aged 16 to retirement and are available to new and existing staff. Apprenticeships are available from GCSE level up to master’s degree level, covering an increasing number of professions, and with the University paying the new apprenticeship levy, the cost of an apprenticeship is likely to be already covered.  Further details are available on our Apprenticeships page.

As an approved ILM Centre, Organisational Development offers the following qualifications which are free to staff:

  • Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management
  • Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management
  • Level 5 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring

Further details are available in the Organisational Development Brochure.

Aston has joined up with Uniec Prestige Limited to offer workshops, open to all staff, on retirement planning. 

The workshops are designed for people approaching retirement or who are simply thinking of drawing some benefits early.

The session will help you to understand more about the planning of your retirement, from the emotional and lifestyle changes through to managing the finances and maximising the benefits available.

The sessions will take place twice a year, usually in January and July

The sessions will be advertised in Aspects when the next dates are available. Go to the Aston Staff Portal to book your place.

    

Discounts

Optegra are able to offer a 10% discount on clinical services such as cataract removal, laser eye surgery, lens replacement, medical eye treatments and innovations. Available to University staff members, for information please follow this link. 

If you need the discount code to make an appointment please contact HR Pensions & Benefits at  pensionsandbenefits@aston.ac.uk

Register with The Cinema Society Club  here for up to 40% off tickets. All you need to do is register with your Aston email address in order to buy tickets. Over 85% of the UK’s cinema Industry offer discounted tickets through the CSC, including VUE, Odeon, Cineworld etc.

We’ve got an extra benefit for you this Christmas!

Winter can be a trying time for your car. Did you know over half of all Winter RAC call outs are due to battery faults and tyre problems? As a special gift this Christmas, we’re able to offer you up to 45% off year-round RAC breakdown cover through Vehicle Benefits. The offer is open to all employees and their family members.

Choose one of four levels of cover from Britain’s most experienced provider. Nationwide roadside recovery, at home, onward travel and European multi trip. RAC Patrol vans carry over 500 parts and tools, and because of this they repair 4 out of 5 cars at the roadside, on average within 30 minutes. If your car can’t be fixed, you’ll get a tow to an approved garage and up to a 20 mile taxi ride home free of charge. With 120 years of championing motorists and a 5-Star rating by Defaqto, RAC roadside cover is a must have for any car driver.

To take advantage of this offer, head to Vehicle Benefits and input the company code and password. Then enter your details, select the level of cover you want and pay. Get driving peace of mind today.

Company code: CSHARE                Password: RAC101

The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre is a fantastic facility for staff to have at their workplace.

Permanent members of staff can choose to pay their membership fee via their monthly salary or in a one off lump sum payment. Non permanent staff can still get Aston staff prices but must pay for the membership in one lump sum.

Staff members partners and children are also able to join for the same prices as Aston Staff. For more information on this go to the  Sport Aston webpage.

Aston University has teamed up with Dunham McCarthy, Estate Planning & Will Specialists, to offer Aston employees and their families a free will writing service.

All of us should have a Will… 
A common mistake is to think that because you do not have considerable savings or property, you do not need to make your Will.

In fact the government is encouraging us to write our Wills at as young an age as possible especially if we have children. Did you know that not everything is passed automatically between husband and wife? Did you know that without at least one Guardian named in your Will social services could appoint a guardian for any children? The reality is that irrespective of age all of us should have a Will in place.

Why is the service FREE? 
Dunham McCarthy Estate Planning & Will Specialists normally charge £119 for drafting a single Will and £189 for two Mirror Wills; all employees and their spouses/partners are being offered this service FREE of charge.

It is because so many clients ask about other services such as trust drafting, life insurance, tax planning, illness cover and document storage that it is possible for Dunham McCarthy to provide a free Will writing service (No additional services are obligatory).

  • WE COME TO YOU in the evening (until 7.30 pm)

  • Entirely FREE OF CHARGE * (there is a surcharge for home visits outside the catchment area)

  • Members of the OFT approved IPW (Institute of Professional Will Writers)

  • SPECIALISTS in Wills and family protection

To arrange your appointment email  enquiries@dunham-mccarthy.co.uk with your contact number or telephone 01785 711556 (Mon-Fri 9:00am – 19:00pm).   

Will Service Brochure 

Example Will

As a result of Aston’s affiliation to Company Travelwise in Birmingham and the University’s on-going commitment to green transport, annual travel passes purchased under the Employee Travel Pass Scheme will be available at a discounted price.

Visit our dedicated page for more information.

All staff receive a 15% discount when dining at Conference Aston. Visit their website for more details.

We have partnered with Boundless to offer all employees new experiences, things to do and exclusive savings. Join today and get £170 vouchers - simply quote ATWORK when you join.

Find out more about our membership offer.

University staff are entitled to great discounts with the TOTUM Discount card. You can purchase a card which gives access to numerous exclusive offers and discounts from many popular retailers and online services.

For full details of all the available savings visit the TOTUM (NUS) website at: https://www.totum.com/se/student-discount/cat

To apply for your TOTUM Discount card, please follow these steps (you will need to have an electronic passport style photograph ready to use)

Log on to: https://cards.totum.com/join
2. Follow the process for a new application
3. Under place of study select: Aston University Students Union
4. Enter any course dates, and in Course Level and Course Discipline, just select Other
5. Continue through the steps, choosing to have your card delivered to home or to work

   

Finance

In the wake of huge changes to the pension system including Auto Enrolment and Pension Freedoms, during November 2017 the government introduced a new Salary Sacrifice Scheme, deeming “pension advice” as a non-taxable benefit which can qualify for salary sacrifice arrangements, up to a limit of £500 per annum.

Save up to £310 on the cost of financial advice
When you pay for financial advice related to your pensions you can now reclaim up to £310 thanks to our new workplace benefit -  Pension Advice Vouchers.

Pension Advice Vouchers allows you to swap up to £500 of your salary (that would usually be taxed) for a £500 tax free reimbursement. That means you will save the tax and national insurance that you would otherwise have paid (and could be as much as £310).

If you've already paid for financial advice this tax year then you can claim your  Pension Advice Vouchers today. Alternatively if you're looking for advice, you can  request a free consultation with a suitable financial adviser.

In light of the tough times your employees are facing, we are sharing our Top 10 practical steps employees can take to protect their finances during Covid-19. We have also built a comprehensive “hub”, curating the most current and relevant resources from Hatch, MoneySavingExpert, Which? and more. We will be updating this hub as the situation progresses.

With employees' financial wellbeing one of the areas most affected by the virus, we're sure you wish there was more you could do to support. Check out our new Reward Director’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing which includes quick wins, longer-term strategy, and further information on how Hatch can help.

A final heads up - understanding that many employees are facing immediate financial challenges, we have launched Money Coaching and Money Chat - two low cost (non-profit) services to help people manage on reduced pay.

Our core financial coaching service is currently operating remotely as normal and at full capacity.

Having a regular savings plan means building up a fund of money towards Christmas, a holiday or just for a rainy day and having it come directly out of your wages means saving has never been easier.  In addition, surplus profits the credit union make are returned to our members in the form of a yearly dividend. Citysave is covered by the FSCS meaning your savings up to £75,000 are secure. 

Citysave also offer access to a pre-paid Visa Debit card which has great Cashback rewards as well as a budgeting tool to help stop you from overspending. 

By becoming a member of Citysave you also have the option to set up junior savings accounts for your children or grandchildren where you will have full access over the account until the child is sixteen. There is an added option of a junior pre-paid debit card for children between 8-16 years of age with an online link so you can check your child’s spending profile. This provides parents with greater control and visibility over the alternative option of handing out cash.

Once the children reaches sixteen they will have access to their account and can start a savings plan of their own, while you, if you choose to, can also continue to save for them.

For more information on Citysave Credit Union or to join please go to  https://www.citysave.org.uk/howtojoin