At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week

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 25 November-1 December

Paul Budgen: The way to compare default funds
Corporate Adviser: Advisers need to sort the wheat from the chaff when comparing default investment propositions says Nest director of business development Paul Budgen. Read story

Lidl UK to increase pay in line with voluntary living wage
Employee Benefits: Supermarket Lidl UK is to increase minimum pay in line with the new voluntary living wage rates from 1 March 2017 as part of its ongoing pay strategy. Read story

DHL Supply Chain staff to strike over pay
Employee Benefits: DHL distribution staff who are members of trade union GMB are to strike on Monday 28 November 2016 in a dispute over pay. Read story

3 ways to address financial exclusion and improve your employees’ mental health
HRD Connect: In this article we explore some of the causes of these money worries, why they matter to employers, and what employers can do to address them. Read story

Editor’s opinion: the work/life blend
Reward Guide: Is your workforce struggling with their work/life balance? Helen Swire thinks it might cause a less than amicable break-up. Read story

46% offer at-retirement support to staff
Employee Benefits: Less than half (46%) of employer respondents offer at-retirement support to employees, compared to 45% in 2014, according to research by Employee Benefits and Close Brothers. Read story

FCA consults on annuity comparator implementation
Employee Benefits: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation on its plans to require annuity providers to inform consumers about how much they could gain from shopping around before a potential annuity purchase. Read story

33% feel pressure not to take time off work for a doctor’s appointment
Employee Benefits: A third (33%) of respondents cite pressure not to take time off from work as the reason for cancelling, missing or postponing an appointment with a GP, according to research by Doctor Care Anywhere and YouGov. Read story

Pay gaps between execs and workers to be disclosed under new proposals
People Management: Government may also give employees a binding vote over reward packages; IoD director to criticise ‘foolish’ defence of high pay. Read story

Employers shouldn’t fear celebrating Christmas, says EHRC head
People Management: Some businesses have been ‘extreme and disproportionate’ in the name of avoiding offence to other religions. Read story

Why employees should be able to opt-down AE contributions
Professional Pensions: Hugh Nolan believes members struggling with increased auto-enrolment contributions should be offered a chance to opt back down to the previous level rather than making it an "all or nothing" choice. Read story

JPMorgan announces 50% cut on DGF charges
Professional Pensions: JPMorgan Asset Management has cut the charges on its Life Diversified Growth Fund (DGF) and introduced greater flexibility to the investment strategy. Read story

Industry finds scale of DC compliance breach ‘surprising'
Professional Pensions: The industry has expressed surprise at the number of defined contribution (DC) plans failing to complete their scheme returns on time. Read story

DWP issues GMP consultation
Professional Pensions: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a consultation on indexation and equalisation of guaranteed minimum pensions (GMP) in public service pension schemes. Read story

BA case: Trustees should have added discretionary power when company was privatised, trustee says
Professional Pensions: Airways Pension Scheme (APS) trustees should have updated the scheme trust deed and rules when British Airways (BA) was privatised in 1987, a trustee has told the High Court. Read story 

Should ministers have M&A intervention powers to protect pensions?
Professional Pensions: Amid reports ministers could be granted public interest powers to interfere in company takeovers to protect schemes, Stephanie Baxter asks if it would really help prevent another BHS. Read story 

National living wage rise under fire from government advisers
People Management: Future hikes may be softened if economic conditions do not improve, says Low Pay Commission. Read story

Post Office staff to strike in pensions dispute
Employee Benefits: Post Office managers who are members of trade union Unite and employees who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will undertake 24-hour strike action on Saturday 3 December 2016 in a ongoing dispute over pensions. Read story

Greater London Authority has a 4.6% gender pay gap
Employee Benefits: The Greater London Authority (GLA), has a gender pay gap of 4.6%, according to the authority’s latest gender pay audit. Read story

67% of lawyers would choose flexible working over a 5% pay increase
Employee Benefits: More than two thirds (67%) of lawyer respondents would choose flexible working over a 5% salary increase, according to research by My Family Care and Hydrogen. Read story

Autumn Statement: What next for salary sacrifice?
Personnel Today: One of the key announcements in November’s Autumn Statement was the removal of tax incentives on most salary-sacrifice schemes. So what should employers do now? Lynda Finan and Nick Hinton explain. Read story

Over 200,000 working days lost due to a lack of sleep
HR Grapevine: A lack of sleep is costing the UK economy up to £40billion a year, according to new research. Read story

Government consults on executive pay and corporate governance
Employee Benefits: The government has launched a consultation into proposed measures to strengthen corporate governance in the UK, including executive pay reforms. Read story

43% of public sector employees feel under excessive pressure at work
Employee Benefits: More than four in ten (43%) public sector employee respondents feel under excessive pressure at work at least once a week, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Halogen. Read story

Government launches consultation on guaranteed minimum pensions equalisation
Employee Benefits: The government has launched a consultation on potential methods for equalising the impact of guaranteed minimum pensions (GMP) on men and women. Read story

Companies must justify high pay
HR Magazine: Prime minister Theresa May said she wants to ensure "everybody plays by the same rules”. Read story

Flexible retirement and pensions options needed
HR Magazine: Catering for those wanting to, and those not able to, work into later life is a complex challenge. Read story

BA case: Company used £250m contingent payment to divide schemes, trustee says
Professional Pensions: British Airways (BA) took advantage of "accidental" drafting of the rules surrounding a £250m contingent payment in a bid to block discretionary increases for the Airways Pension Scheme (APS), a trustee has told the High Court. Read story

European pension plans see Brexit as headwind for global growth
Professional Pensions: European pension plans regard Brexit as a headwind for global growth according to a report by CREATE-Research and Amundi. Read story

Aggregate Industries Pension Plan completes £135m 'follow-on' buy-in
Professional Pensions: Aggregate Industries Pension Plan has completed a £135m pensioner buy-in with Just Retirement. Read story

Go-Ahead Group to change accounting for rail pensions
Professional Pensions: The Go-Ahead Group has announced it is revising the accounting policy for its rail pension schemes. Read story

St James’s Place, Mercer and Towers Watson accused of being ‘slow on pension enquiries’
Corporate Adviser: Mercer, Towers Watson and St James’s Place have been highlighted as being amongst the slowest pension administrators at replying to requests for information on exercising pension freedoms, according to research from Portafina. Read story

University of Reading recognises employees with gift cards and vouchers
Employee Benefits: The University of Reading awards vouchers or gift case to staff in recognition of a job well done. Read story

Virgin Atlantic holds wellbeing event for staff
Employee Benefits: Airline organisation Virgin Atlantic held a health and wellbeing event in November 2016 for its UK employees. Read story

26% believe employers should meet retirement costs as life expectancies rise
Employee Benefits: More than a quarter (26%) of respondents believe that employers should provide for the cost of retirement in societies where life expectancies are increasing, according to research by Chase De Vere. Read story

SG Fleet acquires Motiva Group
Employee Benefits: SG Fleet has acquired UK contract hire, short-term rental, and fleet management organisation Motiva Group. Read story

BA case: Discretionary increase had 'minimal' effect on benefit security, expert actuary says
Professional Pensions: The Airways Pension Scheme (APS) trustees' decision to grant a discretionary increase would have very little effect on the security of members' benefits, an expert actuary has argued in the High Court. Read story

Trustees must report on record-keeping in scheme returns, says TPR
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will require trustees to report on record-keeping in their scheme returns to raise standards after finding little improvement. Read story

One in four schemes will see no deficit improvement by 2036
Professional Pensions: A quarter of schemes may see no improvement in deficits in 20 years because many are still not integrating long-term covenant risk, according to research. Read story

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