Generous workers have given up nearly $9 million of their hard-earned cash to charities or donee organisations under payroll giving since it was introduced in 2010. The latest figures from IRD show in November of last year alone, 3,539 employees donated around $400,000.
Payroll giving is a voluntary initiative that employers can institute in order to allow employees to donate to their favourite charity, school, sports club, church or other community group through payroll. Employees that make donations via their employer’s scheme benefit from an immediate PAYE credit of 33%.
The employer must choose to implement a payroll giving scheme and will be responsible for ensuring that donee organisations have donee status, that the bank account details provided by donee organisations are accurate, and that employees’ donations are processed within two months. They can choose to institute ‘universal’ payroll giving, meaning that employees can donate to any donee organisation (as long as it has IRD donee status), or ‘select’ payroll giving, where the employer compiles a list of donee organisations to which employees can contribute.
Telecom introduced a system of ‘universal’ payroll giving scheme in July 2011, along with a $1 million fund to match donations made by employees through payroll giving. Both initiatives were instituted commensurate with the launch of the Telecom Foundation.
Prior to the launch of the payroll giving scheme, a smaller number of charities received donations from Telecom. “[However], those decisions were made by executives about where the Telecom corporate philanthropy budget would be spent,” said Karyn Tattersfield, of the Telecom Foundation.
“With the introduction of payroll giving, what that means is it’s a much more democratic process and so every employee at Telecom now has access to this million dollar matching fund that’s been put up to payroll giving,” she added.
In Tattersfield’s view, there are several advantages of such a scheme for employees – even without the matching fund. Employees tend not to miss the donation they have made from their pay very much, especially because of the tax credit, they exert total control over where the money goes, and they benefit from anonymity, if they want to. And Tattersfield is particularly enthusiastic about Telecom’s universal scheme. “I just love the fact that everybody gets the opportunity to support their own local community organisation or school or whatever charity they feel passionate about,” she enthused.
In the first year and a half since its inception, 22% of Telecom’s employees have given through payroll and their donations have amounted to a total of $560,055. In that time, Telecom has matched payroll giving to the tune of $373,066 resulting in a total of $933,121.
Tattersfield said that the employee feedback has been very positive. “People love it, absolutely love it. In fact, yesterday I was talking to one of the guys who was one of the first to actually load donations when the programme was launched and he just said it's a real no-brainer for him,” she said.
If you’re interested in implementing payroll giving at your organisation, find out more:
On the IRD website: http://www.ird.govt.nz/payroll-employers/returns-payments/pay-give-emp/payroll-giving-employers.html
And in the implementation guide for employers: http://payrollgivinginfo.org.nz/media/1918/payroll_giving_implementation_guide_for_employers.pdf