At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 3 - 9 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 3 - 9 July 2020.

At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 3 - 9 July 2020

Furloughed workers feel neglected by employers
HR Review: Over half of employees who have been furloughed feel neglected by their employer, as they do not communicate with them or keep them informed of what is happening. Read story

Majority of workers to come off furlough by end of August
HR Review: Nearly two-thirds of furloughed employees will be back at work either full or part-time by the end of August. Read story

Two NHS trusts give 34,000 staff early access to pay
Employee Benefits: Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are giving their 34,000 employees early access to their pay due to the current financial constraints of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

Dunelm reports mean gender pay gap of 18%
Employee Benefits: Retail business Dunelm has reported a mean gender pay gap of 18% for average hourly pay as at April 2019. Read story

4 or Against: Would a four-day working week help or hinder business and the nation post-COVID19?
Employer News: Our popular columnist, Steve Herbert, Head of Benefits Strategy at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, explores whether a 4 day working week would work for the UK. Read story

The Big Return to Workplace and Managing Workplace Stress
Incentive and Motivation: We spoke to LinkedIn HR expert Justin Black on how to manage the stress of the economy opening up, the return to workplace, and genuine employee safety fears. Read story

If COVID-19 vaccine discovered employees wish to return to office
HR Review: This was found by Office Space in Town (OSiT), who offers businesses and individuals flexible workspace solutions, that 95 per cent of employees would favour a return to the workplace if a COVID-19 vaccine was made. More than half (59 per cent) of these workers do desire more flexibility when they do return though. Read story

Third of employers fail to offer early intervention services
Corporate Adviser: One in three employers don’t offer support to help long-term absent employees return to work, according to new research. Read story

Bupa launches Covid testing service for employees
Corporate Adviser: Bupa Health Clinics have launched a new suite of services for corporate customers, which include widespread antibody and antigen tests. Read story

ONS indicates master trust transfer spike as experts demand opacity
Pensions Expert: A massive spike in defined contribution transfers could signal frantic consolidation in the master trust sector, as experts call for clearer data from the Office for National Statistics. Read story

Becketts acquires employee benefits division of NW Brown
Employee Benefits: Investment management organisation Becketts Financial Services has acquired the employee benefits division of NW Brown. Read story

Hachette UK reports mean ethnic pay gap of 14.1%
Employee Benefits: Publishing group Hachette UK has reported a mean ethnicity pay gap of 14.1% for average hourly pay as at April 2019. Read story

Wates Group returns 3,500 employees to full pay
Employee Benefits: Construction business Wates Group has returned 3,500 non-furloughed employees to full pay, effective immediately. Read story

Maps launches pensions dashboards data standards consultation
Pensions Age: The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP), part of the Money and Pensions Service (Maps), has launched a consultation on data standards for the pensions dashboards. Read story

Furlough scheme reduces pension contributions by 25% - Now Pensions
Pensions Age: Furloughed workers have seen their pension contributions fall by 25 per cent, five per cent more than the 20 per cent wage cut, according to analysis by Now Pensions. Read story

Covid crisis sparks new concerns about security of DB schemes
Corporate Adviser: The Covid crisis has led to an increase the number pension savers concerned about the security of DB workplace pension schemes. Read story

Unions and charities call for furlough extension to protect jobs and vulnerable staff
People Management: Unions and charities have called on the chancellor to extend the furlough scheme beyond October to protect jobs and allow high-risk individuals to continue shielding. Read story

Japan Tobacco International enhances global family leave for 44,000 employees
Employee Benefits: Japan Tobacco International (JTI) enhances its global family leave policy for 44,000 employees, effective 1 January 2021. Read story

Fujitsu introduces permanent remote working policy for 80,000 employees
Employee Benefits: Japanese technology organisation Fujitsu has introduced a permanent remote working initiative Work Life Shift for its 80,000 Japan-based employees. Read story

UK facing 'mental health crisis', BMA warns
Cover: In a paper published today, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to a mental health crisis in the UK unless extra support is provided. Read story

Rolls-Royce consulting on closing DB scheme four years early
Pensions Age: Rolls-Royce has issued a consultation to its pension members and trustees on whether they would allow the firm to close its defined benefit scheme four years ahead of schedule. Read story

Five ways employers can deal with return-to-work childcare issues
HR News: Over the past few days, more workplaces have reopened, however, schools and other childcare settings such as holiday clubs are unlikely to open for some time, leaving many working parents with a childcare problem over summer. Read story

Remote working productivity predicted to decrease
HR Magazine: ​Prolonged and permanent remote work could lead to a productivity slump in the long-term, according to software firm Names & Faces. Read story

Companies to receive £1k ‘bonus’ for every employee they bring back from furlough
HR Review: Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced today (08/07/20) during his summer statement that employers will receive a £1,000 “job retention bonus” for every employee they bring back from furlough who will work until January 2021. Read story

Sunak work and pensions package welcomed by industry
Corporate Adviser: Benefits professionals have welcomed today’s announcement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak of a package of initiatives to help protect and create jobs, and are emphasising the importance of motivated employees to fuelling the recovery. Read story

Summer statement: State to pay more pension contributions under Kickstart Scheme
Professional Pensions: Government plans to create jobs for 16-to-24-year-olds will see the state paying employer pension contributions, it is expected. Read story

Furlough scheme responsible for productivity drop, says ONS
People Management: First official figures since lockdown was introduced also reveal the largest yearly increase in labour costs for over a decade. Read story

Four Seasons Health Care provides full sick pay for 15,000 care workers
Employee Benefits: Four Seasons Health Care (FSHC) will pay 15,000 care workers full pay if they have to self-isolate due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

JD Sports Fashion reports mean gender pay gap of 14.9%
Employee Benefits: Sports retailer JD Sports Fashion has reported a mean gender pay gap of 14.9% for average hourly pay as at April 2019. Read story

South London and Maudsley NHS Trust gives 5,500 staff early access to pay
Employee Benefits: South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is giving its 5,500 employees early access to their pay due to the financial constraints of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

Are employers failing sick workers?
HR Grapevine: The coronavirus pandemic has challenged the basis of many companies’ illness policies. Read story

Why investing in employee health and wellbeing solutions post Covid-19 is essential
Employer News: The Covid-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on the importance of health and wellbeing like never before, increasing demand for private healthcare and other health and wellbeing solutions, according to Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing. Read story

FirstGroup pension deficit rises by almost £7m to £313.4m
Pensions Age: FirstGroup has reported a "broadly flat" pension deficit, after recording an increase of less than £7m to £313.4m in 2020 (£307.2m in 2019). Read story

Newspaper publisher Reach to resume DRC payments
Pensions Age: Reach PLC, the publishing house for the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star, will resume payment of its pension deficit recovery contributions (DRCs). Read story

Using pension risk transfer to plug the UK's £1trn infrastructure gap
Professional Pensions: The money used to insure pension liabilities can help met the government’s agenda to ‘build, build, build’, says Johnny Chow. Read story

Ombudsman warns Work and Pensions Committee over Covid-19 scams 'inundation'
Professional Pensions: Pensions Ombudsman Anthony Arter has raised concerns about the increase in pension scam activity during the coronavirus pandemic in a virtual meeting with the Work and Pensions Committee (WPC). Read story

Pregnant women and new mothers to receive greater redundancy protection under proposed bill
People Management: A bill to give pregnant women and new mothers enhanced legal protections against redundancy was reintroduced to parliament yesterday (8 July) amid warnings from MPs and campaigners that coronavirus threatens to compound existing maternity discrimination. Read story

PricewaterhouseCoopers, NHS and IBM named best employers for equality and inclusion
Employee Benefits: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), NHS employers and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) have been recognised as three of the best employers for equality and inclusion. Read story

35% of employers plan to freeze pay or postpone pay rises
Employee Benefits: More than one-third (35%) of UK employers are planning to freeze pay or postpone pay rises, according to research by Willis Towers Watson. Read story

Ryanair reduces pay by up to 10% for UK cabin crew
Employee Benefits: Irish airline Ryanair has introduced 5-10% pay cuts for its UK cabin crew to avoid job losses due to the financial constraints of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

O2 launches HUGE bonus scheme for staff
HR Grapevine: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, employers up and down the UK have had to re-think their business strategies in order to boost sales and attract customers back to stores following the UK-wide lockdown. Read story

Unite Union announces rally at Nissan Sunderland plant over DB scheme closure plans
Pensions Age: Unite Union has announced plans for a socially distanced rally at the Nissan Sunderland plant on 11 July, in response to the firms proposals to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme for workers at the plant. Read story

83% of financial advisers want LTA scrapped - Curtis Banks
Pensions Age: The majority (83 per cent) of financial advisers think that the lifetime allowance (LTA) should be scrapped due to the complexity of rules and protections, a survey by Curtis Banks has found. Read story

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