At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 31 March - 6 April 2017

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 31 March - 6 April 2017.

Active working should be embedded in workplace culture
HR Magazine: There are productivity gains to be made by considering the health and wellbeing of employees. Read story

Analysis: Why do employees rate health cash plans so highly?
Cover Magazine: Health cash plans have become the second most popular employee benefit according to the 2017 Willis Towers Watson Employee Benefits and Wellbeing Index. Fiona Murphy looks at why this is the case compared to its sister PMI market. Read story

Adobe and Salesforce named US Companies that Care for 2017
Employee Benefits: Adobe Systems Incorporated, Salesforce, and Ultimate Software are among the US organisations that have been recognised in 2017’s 50 Companies that Care list, compiled by People magazine and Great Place to Work. Read story

The tax and legislation changes impacting reward from April 2017
Employee Benefits: Chancellor Philip Hammond used both the Autumn Statement 2016 and the Spring Budget 2017 to confirm a number of measures that will affect the pay and benefits landscape. Here is a round up of these measures, along with other tax and legislation changes coming into effect from April 2017. Read story

Texas-based university to launch new parental and adoption benefits
Employee Benefits: Texas-based Baylor University is introducing paid parental leave and an adoption assistance programme for its staff and faculty members. Read story

41% want to receive childcare vouchers through salary sacrifice
Employee Benefits: Two-fifths (41%) of respondents want to receive childcare vouchers via a salary sacrifice arrangement as part of their employee benefits package, according to research by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services. Read story

Dashboard one step closer to launch as ABI unveils prototype
Professional Pensions: A prototype of the pensions dashboard has been demonstrated to government ministers on time, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has announced. Read story

Savers must weigh up pros and cons of pensions versus LISA
Professional Pensions: Mel Duffield says savers should think carefully before deciding to choose a LISA over a pension. Read story

Hong Kong Broadband Network introduces grandparental leave
Employee Benefits: Telecommunications organisation Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) has introduced a grandparental leave policy. Read story

86% believe living wage accreditation improves employer reputation
Employee Benefits: More than three quarters (86%) of voluntary living wage accredited employer respondents believe that living wage accreditation has enhanced their organisation’s general reputation as an employer, according to research by the Living Wage Foundation and Cardiff Business School. Read story

HMRC investigation yields £705 million
HR Magazine: £322 million was collected from SMEs, and £383 million was collected from large businesses in the past year. Read story

Salary sacrifice changes: What you need to know
HR Magazine: How changes to salary sacrifice schemes, which came in 1 April, will affect employers and employees. Read story

Majority of workers feel employers don’t promote religious diversity 
People Management: Research finds significant mismatch between HR policies and actual workplace cultures. Read story

How to avoid holiday request headaches 
People Management: The Easter season brings with it challenges for employers balancing the needs of the business with the legal rights of employees to take leave. Read story

A dip or a blip: What do falling life expectancies mean for DB schemes?
Professional Pensions: Mortality improvements have declined for yet another year, ducking previous estimates. James Phillips explores what this means for pension schemes. Read story

Freedom and Choice 'confuses' two-thirds of over-55s
Professional Pensions: Confusion over pension freedoms rules has landed savers with a higher than expected tax bill, according to Prudential. Read story

DB schemes see deficits ease ahead of Brexit volatility
Professional Pensions: Defined benefit (DB) schemes saw a £20bn reprieve on their deficits over the course of March, PwC's SkyVal index shows. Read story

Senior personnel claim gender pay gap isn't an issue for businesses
Reward Guide: Bad publicity and brand damage bigger concerns around gender pay than the retention of good staff. Read story

Holiday Extras introduces new benefits strategy to align with business goals
Employee Benefits: Travel and leisure organisation Holiday Extras has introduced a new benefits strategy to align reward and benefits with its new brand image and a five-year business growth plan. Read story

Have IGCs improved value for money in contract-based pensions?
Professional Pensions: A second round of IGC reports show most charges have been brought down, but transaction costs remain hard to pin down. Michael Klimes looks at the key findings. Read story

Arcadia agrees shorter recovery plans as Green feels pressure
Pensions Expert: Arcadia Group has agreed to increase its scheduled contributions to its two pension schemes, a sign that public pressure and 'naming and shaming' may be having some impact. Read story

Danby Bloch: The end of salary sacrifice as we know it
Money Marketing: The Government has just published draft clauses in the Finance Bill setting out how the new salary sacrifice rules will work. I offer no apologies for returning to this controversial new tax law, which will more or less annihilate flexible remuneration, cost employees a great deal of tax and their employers a hefty increase in National Insurance contributions. Read story

Third of employers fail to review gender pay discrepancies
People Management: Just days before new reporting rules come into effect, research suggests organisations still have much work to do. Read story

What investment risks could arise during the Brexit negotiations?
Professional Pensions: Despite a relative calm reaction to the triggering of Article 50, schemes should be braced for a bumpy ride during the coming two years of tough Brexit negotiations. Stephanie Baxter looks at what to watch out for. Read story

ING Financial Markets achieves 95% take-up of global wellbeing programme
Employee Benefits: ING Financial Markets, part of global banking organisation ING, has achieved a 95% take-up rate for its new wellbeing programme, which launched in March 2017. Read story

DB schemes 'could save up to £30bn' through access to more timely data
Professional Pensions: Hymans Robertson has launched an analytics service to give trustees access to more accurate and timely funding and risk data, to address issues from relying on out-of-date information. Read story

ING Financial Markets achieves 95% take-up of global wellbeing programme
Employee Benefits: ING Financial Markets, part of global banking organisation ING, has achieved a 95% take-up rate for its new wellbeing programme, which launched in March 2017. Read story

58% do not have salary information available across roles and genders
Employee Benefits: More than half (58%) of employer respondents do not have salary information available across roles and genders, according to research by Totaljobs. Read story

74% believe traditional working environments detract from a healthy lifestyle
Employee Benefits: Almost three quarters (74%) of respondents believe traditional working environments detract from a healthy lifestyle, according to research by teleconferencing organisation Powwownow. Read story

Certain perks could retain quitting staff
HR Magazine: Flexible working, promotions or salary increases might keep staff who have handed in their notice. Read story

Harrington hails pension dashboard prototype
Corporate Adviser: Government ministers have been presented with a working pension dashboard prototype that will be unveiled to the public on 12th April. Read story

Ian McKenna: The race to embrace and embed the pension dashboard
Corporate Adviser: I find it hard to think of any area of this industry that will benefit more from the successful delivery of the Pension Finder prototypes as part of the pension dashboards project than workplace pensions. Read story

Susan Ball: What do the changes to salary sacrifice mean for employers?
Employee Benefits: With publication of the Finance Bill, the final legislation around changes to salary sacrifice is now available, and considerably more pages have been added. Read story

Clare Gregory: Grey areas could lead to gender pay gap reporting inconsistencies
Employee Benefits: Wednesday 5 April 2017 marks the ‘snapshot’ date when organisations with more than 250 employees must collect data to calculate their mean and median gender pay and bonus gaps. Read story

Half of fathers would not use SPL
HR Magazine: Two years since Shared Parental Leave legislation was introduced takeup is still low. Read story

Baby Boomers want flexible working and staggered retirement
HR Magazine: Research has found that older workers are keen to improve their work/life balance but stay working. Read story

Pensions minister: Govt is open to giving regulators more DB powers
Money Marketing: When we talk about pensions we often think about the industry or the market as a whole. Take defined benefit pensions: there is £1.5 trillion under the management of these schemes, a sum equivalent to around three quarters of the annual GDP of the UK. With such vast amounts of money tied up in the schemes it is vital for the UK economy that their future is secure. Read story

Royal London asked to review exit charges on legacy pensions
Money Marketing: Royal London’s independent governance committee has asked the provider to review exit charges on some of its legacy products because they are no longer justified by commission payments to advisers. Read story

LGPS cannot withhold fraudster's pension rights, ombudsman rules
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has ruled Enfield Council cannot withhold pension benefits for a man who embezzled nearly £500,000, due to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) rules. Read story

More than five million people saving more due to freedoms
Professional Pensions: Over one in eight of the working population are saving more into their pension pots as a direct result of the introduction of Freedom and Choice, Aegon has found. Read story

Northern Trust introduces childcare advice benefit for London staff
Employee Benefits: Global financial services organisation Northern Trust has launched a new childcare support and advice benefit for its 1,600 London-based staff. Read story

RBS rolls out sustainability engagement scheme
Employee Benefits: RBS has rolled out a sustainability engagement programme to staff at its 1,700 locations in the UK and Ireland following a pilot scheme in 2016. Read story

52% of fathers would take up shared parental leave
Employee Benefits: More than half (52%) of respondents who are fathers would take advantage of shared parental leave (SPL), according to research by Working Families. Read story

What impact will the Lifetime Isa have on UK workplace pensions?
Employee Benefits: The launch of the Lifetime individual saving account (Lisa) presents an attractive new way for people to boost their savings for a deposit for a first home or their pension pot on retirement, but it should not be seen as an alternative to paying into a workplace pension. Read story

Hot topic: Gender pay gap reporting
HR Magazine: As gender pay gap reporting is introduced, we ask: will it lead to problems, and what can firms do to counter them? Read story

Salary sacrifice changes have ‘temporary legal force’
People Management: Because legislation is yet to receive royal assent, experts advise employers to delay entering new arrangements with employees. Read story

Industry should accept reality and engage with LISA
Professional Pensions: Most respondents in this week's Pensions Buzz say it's time to get on board with the lifetime ISA to get the best outcomes for members. Read story

Solicitors fined £16,000 in TPR's first criminal conviction
Professional Pensions: Ashley Wilson Solicitors and one of its partners have been fined £16,000 for refusing to give The Pensions Regulator (TPR) documents for an investigation, in the first use of one of its powers. Read story

Tens of thousands losing out in overpaid pension freedoms tax
Professional Pensions: Emergency tax codes for one-off withdrawals under Freedom and Choice are leaving savers significantly overpaying on their tax bills, when in many cases they should pay no tax at all. Read story

Wellbeing in the workplace: it’s working for everyone’s benefit
Reward Guide: As Reward’s landmark wellbeing research launches, Jenna Gadhavi, special projects editor, examines why it is crucial for employers to understand workplace wellness. Read story

Hologic launches online financial education programme
Employee Benefits: Global healthcare and diagnostics organisation Hologic has introduced a new online financial education programme for its 320 UK-based staff. Read story

Land Securities and the Goodall Foundation gain living wage accreditation
Employee Benefits: Commercial real estate organisation Land Securities and education charity The Robin and Sylvia Goodall Charitable Foundation have been accredited as living wage employers by the Living Wage Foundation. Read story

Government consults on early exit charges and pension commission regulations
Employee Benefits: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a consultation on draft regulations regarding the cap on early exit charges for occupational pension schemes and restrictions on member-borne commission payments. Read story

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