At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 10 – 16 July 2020


Your quick-read round up of the reward and benefits stories appearing in the press in the past seven days.

The headlines you might have missed between 10 - 16 July 2020.

At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 10 – 16 July 2020

Bill reintroduced to give protection to pregnant women from redundancy
HR Review: A bill that gives pregnant women and new mothers legal protections against redundancy was reintroduced in parliament this week, as it is believed that the spread of COVID-19 has led to pregnant women or those on maternity leave to be at a higher risk of losing their job. Read story

PPF gives 90-day levy extension to struggling employers
Professional Pensions: The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has announced a 90-day interest-free extension to levy payments for employers struggling due to the Covid-19 economic crisis. Read story

Deutsche Post DHL rewards 500,000 staff with €300 bonus
Employee Benefits: Deutsche Post DHL is rewarding its 500,000 employees with a one-time €300 (£268) bonus payment following on from exceptional business performance throughout the second quarter. Read story

Ministry of Justice provides full sick pay for outsourced cleaners
Employee Benefits: Cleaners at The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), who are employed by facilities management provider OCS Group, will receive full sick pay if they have to self-isolate due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

Huwaei Technologies reports mean gender pay gap of 20.3%
Employee Benefits: Technology organisation Huwaei Technologies (Huwaei) has reported a mean gender pay gap of 20.3% for average hourly pay as at April 2019. Read story

Royal Mail appeal over status of agency workers dismissed by court
Employee Benefits: The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has dismissed an appeal submitted by Angard Staffing Solutions and Royal Mail against the Employment Tribunal decision made for Mr D Kocur and 66 other claimants regarding unfair treatment of agency workers. Read story

Welsh govt launches consultation on firefighter pension changes
Pensions Age: The Welsh government has launched a consultation into amendments for firefighters’ pension schemes that will affect same-sex spouses, civil partners and children of unmarried parents. Read story

Samuel Heath cuts deficit by £0.8m as liabilities decline
Pensions Age: Samuel Heath, the bathroom accessories specialist, has cut its pension deficit by £0.8m after a decline in liabilities outstripped a reduction in asset values. Read story

Steps to address grief in the workplace after lockdown
HR Magazine: As employees start to return to work, now is a good time to start planning the support for those who have been bereaved during lockdown. Read story

OECD warning on Covid pension withdrawals
Corporate Adviser: Retirement incomes will be slashed if the Government follows Australia’s lead in allowing pension withdrawals for those left without income as a result of the financial crisis caused by Covid-19, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned. Read story

The Diversity Project launches compendium to accelerate industry's inclusion agenda
Professional Pensions: The Diversity Project has launched a compendium to enable the investment and savings industry to accelerate its diversity and inclusion agenda. Read story

TPR’s fast-track proposal 'risks levelling down by employers'
Pensions Expert: Actuaries have expressed concern that the Pensions Regulator’s proposal of a ‘fast-track’ route for compliance, with its expectations on defined benefit funding, could spur market-leading employers to level down their approach. Read story

Zurich UK offers 4,500 employee free Covid-19 antibody test
Employee Benefits: Insurance organisation Zurich is offering all of its 4,500 UK employees a free antibody test, after a recent survey of its employees found that 95% of staff would like to be tested. Read story

Primark refuses £30 million government job retention bonus
Employee Benefits: Fashion and homeware retailer Primark has made the decision to not use the government’s job retention bonus scheme during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, foregoing a £30 million payment. Read story

Brewdog reports mean gender pay gap of 6.3%
Employee Benefits: Beer organisation Brewdog has reported a mean gender pay gap of 6.3% for average hourly pay as at April 2019. Read story

‘Furlough Fraud’: First arrest sends stark warning to employers
HR Grapevine: When the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this year, many analysts questioned the ability of HMRC to regulate its implementation and usage, given the mass scale on which it was adopted. Read story

Half of SME employees say working from home negatively affects mental health
Workplace Insight: Findings from a recent study show that there is little additional support from SME’s to meet employee wellbeing standards when working from home, as many make a more permanent change after lockdown. Read story

FCA DB transfer rules may not provide expected consumer protection – LCP
Pensions Age: New Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules requiring the benchmarking of defined benefit (DB) transfers against a workplace pension may not provide the consumer protection intended, Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP) has warned. Read story

TPO upholds complaint against British Airways Health Services
Pensions Age: The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has ordered British Airways Health Services (BAHS) to reconsider its decision not to award a New Airways Pension Scheme member and BA pilot ill health retirement benefits. Read story

Premier issues advice to pensions schemes for deficit recovery 'challenge'
Pensions Age: Premier has outlined six tips for pension schemes to consider when looking at the deficit recovery impact of Covid-19, warning trustees that this will "be quite a challenge". Read story

New research: Low paid workers bearing brunt of the Covid-19 crisis
HR News: New research by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), funded by Standard Life Foundation, has found that low paid workers are bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis. Read story

How important is data when grappling with furlough, redundancy and recruitment?
HR Magazine: One of the big trends emerging in talent acquisition since the coronavirus pandemic struck has been a greater need for internal mobility and redeployment. Data-driven decisions for this have never been so important. Read story

PP Live: Guy Opperman - Simpler annual benefit statement consultation response 'on my desk'
Professional Pensions: The Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) response to the simpler annual benefit statement consultation is ready, and likely to be published within weeks. Read story

GMP Equalisation Working Group publishes guidance on data
Professional Pensions: The GMP Equalisation Working Group (GMPEWG) has published guidance on the key data aspects involved in equalising for the sex based inequalities of GMPs. Read story

USS strikes £300m deal with affordable housing investors
Pensions Expert: The Universities Superannuation Scheme has entered into a £300m 45-year debt facility arrangement with a real estate investment trust to boost shared ownership housing developments. Read story

French government to give healthcare workers pay rise worth €7.5 billion
Employee Benefits: The French government is giving healthcare workers a pay rise totalling €7.5 billion (£6.8 billion) to reward them for their hard work during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

Ovo Energy reports mean gender pay gap of 20.1%
Employee Benefits: Energy organisation Ovo Energy has reported a mean gender pay gap of 20.1% for average hourly pay as at April 2019. Read story

31% of employees do not feel supported by their employer while working remotely
Employee Benefits: One-third (31%) of employees feel that their employer does not support them when they work from home according to research by Unipos. Read story

DB pension deficit decreases to £174.8bn - PPF 7800
Pensions Age: The combined deficit of UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) 7800 Index fell to £174.8bn at the end of June 2020, down from the £176.3bn reported in May 2020. Read story

Freshfields highlights legal considerations for superfund transactions
Pensions Age: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) has outlined legal considerations for pension scheme trustees and employers considering a defined benefit superfund transaction. Read story

4 Innovative Ways to Support Equality in the Workplace
HR News: According to research done by Independent, one in four workers in the U.K. has experienced discrimination in the workplace. Read story

How to show gratitude to your global workforce
Incentive and Motivation: Over the last few months, many organisations across the world have deployed remote workforces for the first time. With reduced in-person communication, and exacerbated employee worries surrounding the pandemic, it is more important than ever that employers ensure their teams feel valued, even from a distance. Read story

Pension transfer times maintained despite Covid crisis
Corporate Adviser: The time taken to transfer pensions during the coronavirus lockdown only increased marginally, despite the significant disruption to usual business operations. Read story

Covid-19 crisis has not changed TPR's view that funding principles are 'right'
Professional Pensions: The economic crisis caused by Covid-19 has reinforced The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) view that its defined benefit (DB) funding principles are “right”, says David Fairs. Read story

Charterhouse sees 18% increase in staff happiness due to wellbeing programme
Employee Benefits: Accountancy firm Charterhouse has seen an 18% rise in employee happiness after holding a 10-week long health and wellbeing programme. Read story

Irish government increases paid parents’ leave to five weeks
Employee Benefits: Working parents in Ireland are to be given an extra three weeks’ paid leave by the Irish government. Read story

Delta Air Lines saves 24% in pay and benefits costs due to voluntary leave arrangement
Employee Benefits: Delta Air Lines has saved 24% in salary and benefits costs after more than 45,000 employees choose to take voluntary unpaid leave. Read story

Pension Schemes Bill to progress to House of Commons
Pensions Age: The Pension Schemes Bill has been passed in the House of Lords (HoL) following a third reading and will now move for consideration in the House of Commons. Read story

Pension transfers down by less than 5% in H1 - Origo
Pensions Age: The UK’s pension transfer market has returned to “business almost as usual” with a less than 5 per cent drop in transfers over H1 2020, according to Origo. Read story

O2 announces new £10m employee incentive scheme
Incentive and Motivation: O2 has announced a new £10m employee incentive scheme which will see the firm’s 6,700 O2 and giffgaff employees rewarded for helping grow its customer base over the next year. Read story

How are incentives and rewards changing as we come back to ‘normal’?
Incentive and Motivation: As many companies creep back into offices, with their desk space lovingly arranged into a secure bubble guided in by stickers taking them to the watercooler, hand sanitiser and back again, we turn our attentions to what is happening to incentives and rewards right now. Read story

ONS stats: Covid ‘accelerating early retirement’
Corporate Adviser: The number of people retiring before age 65 has increased by more than 55,000 in the last four months, suggesting Covid-19 may be driving a rise in early retirement. Read story

Pensions Schemes Bill passes final Lords hurdle to proceed to Commons
Professional Pensions: The Pension Schemes Bill will now move for consideration in the House of Commons after it was passed in the House of Lords yesterday (15 July) following a third reading. Read story

McCloud consultation launches; Treasury resumes cost control mechanism for public sector schemes
Professional Pensions: HM Treasury has announced it will resume the cost control mechanism for public sector pension schemes, noting the concern that the 18-month suspension has caused. Read story

Savers blame provider innovation for low AE engagement
Professional Pensions: Workplace scheme providers’ lack of “new and progressive products” is to blame for continued low engagement with pensions despite the success of auto-enrolment (AE), according to Cushon. Read story

Home working set to double post coronavirus crisis, survey finds
People Management: CIPD calls for flexible working to become a day-one right, as government prepares roadmap for sending staff back to offices from August. Read story

Goodlord sees 40% of employees engage with financial coaching
Employee Benefits: Lettings platform Goodlord has given its 100 employees access to a free financial coach, with 40% of employees booking an appointment within the first two weeks since the benefit was introduced in June 2020. Read story

Kier Group returns furloughed staff to work without claiming job retention bonus
Employee Benefits: UK construction organisation Kier Group is foregoing a £1,000 payment per employee under the government’s job retention bonus scheme for bringing back furloughed employees. Read story

Mattioli Woods saves £2.7m by scrapping bonuses
Money Marketing: Mattioli Woods saved £2.7m by cutting all staff bonuses in response to the coronavirus crisis, the company revealed today. Read story

Vapour rolls out Champion Health wellbeing programme for staff
Employer News: Elland-headquartered tech firm Vapour Cloud has partnered with Champion Health, to roll out a digital assessment programme to support the health and wellbeing of staff. Read story

Majority of HR professionals believe pensions are too complicated for member engagement
Pensions Age: Two-thirds (66 per cent) of HR managers view pensions being “far too complicated” as a key barrier in getting employees more engaged with their pension, according to a survey by Cushon. Read story

Employers must invest in digital health to protect the long-term health of remote employees
HR News: A poor set-up for working from home could lead to costly physical and mental health problems such as lower-back pain and repetitive strain industry (RSI) or stress and anxiety in the long-term if firms fail to invest in adequate health support. Read story

Protecting the financial wellbeing of the next generation
HR Magazine: There are several ways businesses can support this generation’s entrance into the workforce and build a healthy talent pipeline to proactively protect their future prospects and bottom-line. Read story



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