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WORK LIFE - JARGON BUSTER

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What is...a home computing initiative ...
What is...a home computing initiative

Technophobes beware. As many as 90% of all new jobs today require a basic knowledge of computer skills.

Dragging yourself into the 21st century can be an expensive business so employers are being urged to join a government tax-free scheme to get computers into people's homes.

Home Computing Initiatives work by enabling organisations to loan computers to their staff for their use at home as a tax-free benefit. According to the Department of Trade & Industry, it is a win-win situation for bosses. As well as making themselves more attractive as an employer, they make their workforce more IT-literate and confident.

The initiative is not just a sneaky way of getting staff to improve skills in their own time. They are free to trawl the internet for online shopping or poker games or learn how to manage their personal finances on computer packages.

The Nationwide building society, which employs around 15,000 people, is delighted with the scheme. Head of corporate personnel Keith Astill says: 'Staff wanted benefits that could extend into their homes and have a positive effect on their families too. An HCI achieves this.'

Schemes do not need to cost a penny if they choose to use salary sacrifice arrangements to offset the costs. In a salary sacrifice, the member of staff accepts a reduction in salary in return for the use of a loaned computer.

www.knowledgenetwork.gov.uk/oee/hci.nsf

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