At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 16-22 November 2018

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 16-22 November. 

Hero acquires UKWellbeing Coach
Employee Benefits: Digital wellness provider Hero has acquired UK-based employee health, fitness and wellbeing organisation UKWellbeing Coach. Read story

A third believe financial wellbeing benefits are very important
Employee Benefits: A third (33%) of respondents believe that financial wellbeing benefits, such as a pension, holiday and bonus pay, are very important when considering where to work, according to research by UK consultancy Barnett Waddingham. Read story

AMCOGiffen rolls out nutrition programme
Employee Benefits: Multi-discipline engineering organisation AMCOGiffen is rolling out a nutrition-focused wellbeing programme in its Barnsley head office after completing a successful five-month pilot with site-based employees at its Cumbernauld location. Read story

'Big three' continue to resist CMA's fiduciary management tender evidence
Professional Pensions: Aon, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson have renewed criticism of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over its analysis of the benefits of tendering for fiduciary management contracts. Read story

Amber Rudd named work and pensions secretary
Professional Pensions: Former home secretary Amber Rudd is to return to the cabinet as work and pensions secretary after the resignation of Esther McVey. Read story

Ros Altmann: Net pay: trustees’ biggest failure?
Corporate Adviser: TPR, the DWP, the PLSA and the majority of master trust trustees are overlooking the interests of the lowest earners within schemes, most of whom are women, says Baroness Ros Altmann. Read story

Co-op HR director wins equal pay and unfair dismissal claim
Personnel Today: A former Co-operative Group HR director has won her claim for equal pay and unfair dismissal against the company, following a three-year legal battle. Read story

Number of businesses giving employees flu jab increasing - Bupa
Cover: Flu jab vouchers already surpasses 2017 total. Read story

Boss gives employees guns for Christmas
HR Grapevine: An employer has gifted his staff something unusual in the run up to Christmas: guns. Read story

Majority of older employees want flexible working, research finds
People Management: Experts warn that not accommodating ageing workforce is ‘depriving economy of skills and knowledge’. Read story

Half would take a pay cut rather than work solely in the office
Employee Benefits: Around half (52%) of respondents would prefer to take a pay cut than be restricted to working only in an office environment, according to research by digital security organisation Avast. Read story

A quarter want a money-based reward from their employer this Christmas
Employee Benefits: A quarter (25%) of respondents would like to receive a money-based reward, such as cash, a bonus payment within their salary or a gift card or voucher, from their employer this Christmas, according to research by benefits provider Perkbox. Read story

EY and UK Power Networks recognised among 2018’s most inclusive employers in the UK
Employee Benefits: Professional services firm EY, telecommunications and media business Sky, utilities provider UK Power Networks (pictured) and banking organisation HSBC are among the organisations recognised on The inclusive top 50 UK employers 2018-2019 list, compiled by national diversity network Inclusive Companies. Read story

ACA and Royal London propose 'radically simplified' DB structure
Professional Pensions: The Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) and Royal London have proposed a "pensions pound" to "radically simplify" defined benefit (DB) pensions rights. Read story

Are employers to blame for low SPL uptake?
HR Magazine: Research reveals there are multiple factors behind why uptake of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is still so low. Read story

Shell launches online hub to meet member demand
Pensions Expert: Royal Dutch Shell has introduced a new financial education hub for employees, as members of the company’s pension fund show appetite for online communications. Read story

'Untapped potential' for multinational pooling - Generali
Cover: Most do not feel sufficiently familiar with pooling, or it is not part of their corporate strategy. Read story

9pm Friday night text tells staff: 'We've gone into administration’
HR Grapevine: Staff at one of the UK’s biggest newspaper groups received texts at 9.30pm on Friday night to explain that the company had gone into administration and their contracts were being transferred to a new company. Read story

Pensions minister: Simple statements are long overdue
Money Marketing: Making pensions simple for everyone to understand is one of my key missions as a minister. Read story

More than 60% of sufferers do not speak about mental health issues at work
Employee Benefits: Two-thirds (66%) of workers have personally experienced mental ill-health, but the majority (61%) of these individuals have not spoken to anyone at work about their problems, according to a study by professional services organisation Accenture. Read story

Rental Concepts pays $96,511 in back wages following investigation
Employee Benefits: Rental Concepts of Springdale, Arkansas, which operates as RNR Tire Express, a franchise retailer of tires and custom wheels, has paid $96,511 (£75,137.19) in back wages to 239 employees. Read story

Breakspear Park offers free diabetes screening to staff
Employee Benefits: Breakspear Park business park in Hemel Hempstead has offered all employees a free health screening for diabetes as part of a drive to raise awareness of the condition. Read story

PPF 'concerned' over Johnston Press pre-pack as deal dodges scheme contribution
Professional Pensions: The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) are probing the sale of Johnston Press as concerns are raised over the impact on the publishing house's pension fund. Read story

Two thirds of dads take six months’ shared parental leave at Aviva
Personnel Today: Enhancing shared parental pay to the same level as maternity pay has been shown to help lead to a dramatically higher take-up of shared parental leave among men at the UK’s largest insurance firm. Read story

One third of workforce are negative about learning
People Management: L&D professionals should see employees as consumers of learning, say experts, as they urge a ‘transformative approach’. Read story

Support line calls related to work issues after a cancer diagnosis increase by 74%
Employee Benefits: Charity organisation Macmillian Cancer Support has reported a 74% increase in the number of calls to its support line that specifically centre around work-related issues, such as discrimination and dismissal, after employees receive a cancer diagnosis. Read story

Most employees want a gift from employers at Christmas to make them feel valued
Employee Benefits: The majority (94%) of employees want to receive a gift from their employers this Christmas in order to feel valued, appreciated and happy, according to research by Instantprint. Read story

2Excel Aviation launches employee ownership trust
Employee Benefits: Aviation organisation 2Excel Aviation has launched an employee ownership trust to boost reward and retention among its 160 employees, who operate across eight business units, including T2 Aviation, 2Excel Engineering, Scimitar, Sabre, Broadsword, Leading Edge, GeoSpacial and The Blades. Read story

Two-thirds of retirees leave investments alone despite volatility
Professional Pensions: Retirees are concerned about recent market volatility but are refraining from reacting and changing the investment policies of their drawdown products, Aegon research finds. Read story

Four fifths of LISA users also save into workplace pensions
Professional Pensions: The Lifetime ISA (LISA) has not caused an exodus from workplace pensions as feared, research by AJ Bell finds. Read story

DB transfer specialist looks to cash in on business from smaller firms
Money Marketing: A pension transfer specialist which came under scrutiny for its outsourcing model is now making a bid for the transfer business of advice firms unwilling to take the risk on themselves. Read story

Ian McKenna: The missing links in pensions engagement
Money Marketing: Too many new initiatives are ignoring the obvious foundation available from which to build on. Read story

IMF warns UK state pension ‘unsustainable’
Corporate Adviser: Changing demographics and the rising cost of 'triple lock' will push pension age upwards, and force government to consider means-testing this benefit, according to a new report. Read story

Companies to offer more flexible pension options
Corporate Adviser: Survey shows companies are planning to expand benefit programmes and look at more flexible pension arrangements to boost employees' financial wellbeing. Read story

Use employee benefits to support lower earners, says Work Foundation
Personnel Today: Businesses should make better use of their employee benefits to support low earners, according to a report by the Work Foundation. Read story

Why a December bonus could prevent New year staff departures
HR Grapevine: January is traditionally a time for new beginnings – and, for many employees, it is often the time their search for a new job starts in earnest. Read story

Dr Kenny Livingstone: Entering the modern era
Cover: In light of his firm's newly updated on-demand GP service for employers, ZoomDoc's CEO and founder explores flexible benefits. Read story

Nine in 10 workers affected by mental health, new research finds
People Management: HRH The Duke of Cambridge encourages HR to be ‘a door people feel they can go and see’ to talk about mental health. Read story

A third of UK working adults have suffered from poor mental health in the workplace
Employee Benefits: A third (32%) of all UK adults in full-time employment have suffered from poor mental health in the workplace. However, more than two-fifths (44%) of these individuals have never disclosed their issues to a manager, according to research by health technology organisation Mynurva. Read story

Employees not receiving recognition are twice as likely to leave
Employee Benefits: Employees who have not received recognition recently are twice as likely to be looking for another job, according to a study by employee engagement organisation Tiny Pulse. Read story

Colt Technology Services launches employee recognition programme
Employee Benefits: Telecommunications organisation Colt Technology Services has launched a recognition programme for its workforce, which numbers 5,000 employees across 22 countries. Read story

Improve benefits to help low earners, report urges
HR Magazine: Many organisations are failing to maximise the value of employee benefits for low earners, according to research from the Work Foundation. Read story

600 Group completes buy-in ahead of scheme wind-up
Pensions Expert: A UK engineering company, 600 Group, has derisked its 2,800-member defined benefit pension scheme with a $270m (£210m) buy-in policy from the Pension Insurance Corporation before moving to full buyout next year. Read story

Average pay awards drop to 2.3% in autumn
Personnel Today: There was a slight dip in the median basic pay award in the three months to the end of October, according to XpertHR analysis. Read story

Bet365 boss awards herself 'obscene' £265m bonus
HR Grapevine: The billionaire boss of betting firm Bet365 has come under fire after she gave herself a £265million bonus in 2017 – the Guardian reports. Read story

Nearly half of employees ‘overwhelmed’ with workload
Incentive and Motivation: Almost half of UK workers (47 per cent) spend the majority of their time feeling overwhelmed by their workloads, while 85 per cent say that work is causing them stress, according to research from employee experience company Qualtrics. Read story

FRC hits KPMG with formal complaint over Silentnight work
Professional Pensions: KPMG and partner David Costley-Wood have been accused of deliberately providing untrue, misleading or materially incomplete pensions information during the Silentnight saga. Read story

Companies told to cut higher pension contributions for bosses
Professional Pensions: Employers that dish out higher pension contributions to directors than junior staff will face shareholder revolt if they fail to axe such practices. Read story

HSBC has 'moral imperative' to drop pensions clawback rules, say MPs
Professional Pensions: The chief executive of HSBC, John Flint, is being pressured to appear before a newly formed cross-party group of MPs over a controversial pensions 'clawback' policy. Read story

Smart Pension to launch financial well-being app
Professional Pensions: Smart Pension will roll out an online financial well-being application to help members make decisions about their money in Q1 next year. Read story






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