Fifteen years ago, few believed that the Liikuntaseteli exercise voucher would be a success. Smartum Ltd’s founders had faith in their idea. They realised that work performance and well-being would become a competitive factor between companies. However, making the vision a reality took unwavering determination, stamina and a good eye for details.
Arranging employee benefits in a way that would be satisfactory to all parties proved challenging. The solution Smartum came up with was the Liikuntaseteli exercise voucher with which employers could provide their employees with exercise services irrespective of time and place.
The voucher gained widespread popularity in the early 2000s, and the Tax Administration became interested in the operations as it considered the arrangement to be liable to taxation. Since the search for a mutual solution failed, Smartum turned to the Parliament. Persistent negotiations were rewarded with a change to the Income Tax Act. The Liikuntaseteli voucher was granted tax-free status from the beginning of 2004.
The popularity of the Liikuntaseteli voucher sparked the idea of supporting mental well-being at the workplace. The result was the Kulttuuriseteli voucher which was, however, specified as taxable income. Once again, persistent talks with political bodies ensued. The matter gained support across political boundaries, and in December 2008, the Parliament confirmed the voucher’s tax free status.
Smartum continues its journey of research and development aimed at improving Finnish well-being.