At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 7-12 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 7-12 April 

Employee ownership and the professional services sector
HR Magazine: The professional services sector is finding an employee-owned model great for attraction and retention. Read story

Hot topic: Gender pay reporting, part two
HR Magazine: As gender pay gap reporting is introduced will it lead to problems? Read story

Salesforce conducts $3m salary adjustment following equal pay assessment
Employee Benefits: Global cloud-based technology organisation Salesforce has spent approximately $3 million (£2.4 million) on salary adjustments to address unexplained differences in pay. Read story

FTSE 350 defined benefit pension deficit falls to £133bn
Employee Benefits: The accounting deficit of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes for the UK’s largest 350 organisations fell from £137 billion at the end of February 2017 to £133 billion on 31 March 2017, according to research by Mercer. Read story

Skills reform needed to address longer working lives, MPs say
People Management: Employers and government must commit to upskilling older workers ahead of labour shortages, recommends Skills Commission report. Read story

Trustee companies wound up after collecting £3.5m fees from unauthorised investments
Professional Pensions: The Insolvency Service has shut down two trustee companies after an investigation found they had failed to seek independent investment advice, comply with their own governance statements, and adhere to regulation. Read story

Dashboard ‘to encourage pot consolidation’
Corporate Adviser: One in six over 55s – 17 per cent – think the pensions dashboard will encourage people to consolidate their pots with different employers, while 29 per cent think it will help them to save more, new research has found. Read story

Dan Leuty: Default risks at both ends of the derisking spectrum
Corporate Adviser: Schemes are adopting a broad spectrum of approaches to derisking. Both extremes of this range have the potential to be extremely detrimental to members says SSGA UK head of strategic DC clients Dan Leuty, UK Head of Strategic DC Clients, SSGA. Read story

Opinion: Do curbs on CEO pay matter to the rest of us?
People Management: Lecturer Simon Richardson assesses the potential impact of strategies to cut rising executive pay. Read story

Schemes are paying asset managers higher fees despite lower rates
Professional Pensions: Some pension schemes could be paying investment managers 70% more in fees compared to six years according to Lane, Clark and Peacock (LCP). Read story

Tangible benefits
Reward Guide: Virtual healthcare is becoming a credible alternative to more traditional forms of healthcare, finds Maggie Williams. Read story

Royal London gains living wage accreditation
Employee Benefits: Pensions and investment organisation Royal London has been accredited as a living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation, committing to pay its 3,253 UK-based employees the voluntary living wage. Read story

14% plan to ask for a pay rise in 2017
Employee Benefits: More than one in 10 respondents (14%) plan to ask for a pay rise in 2017, according to research by job site Adzuna. Read story

Employers complying with AE ‘every 57 seconds’
Corporate Adviser: More than 136,000 small and micro employers complied with their auto-enrolment responsibilities in the first quarter of 2017, bringing the total number of firms through the process to more than 500,000. Read story

Annuity sales fall to all time low
Corporate Adviser: Annuity sales fell to their lowest level this century in Q4 2016, with 17,000 contracts put in place compared to 20,000 the previous quarter, although the value of the average fund invested climbed to £58,100. Read story

Treasury/FCA advice group recommends MAS employer portal
Corporate Adviser: The Money Advice Service (MAS) should deliver a portal and guide to help employers support their employees’ financial wellbeing and resilience with a view to making them more productive, the Financial Advice Working Group (FAWG) has recommended. Read story

RSK supports heart health and wider wellbeing through staff pedometer challenges
Employee Benefits: In February 2015, environmental consultancy RSK launched an employee pedometer challenge to encourage staff to stay active as part of Healthy Heart Month. Read story

Michael Jenkins: Empower staff to work in a healthy way to support cardiovascular health
Employee Benefits: In a world where we are increasingly exposed to longer working hours, reduced time for exercise, an increased sugar intake and weight gain, focusing on health in the workplace could not be more important. Read story

Pay gap reporting and flexible working key to gender equality
HR Magazine: A recent survey asked people what they think are the best ways to support gender equality in the workplace. Read story

Starbucks China to introduce critical illness insurance for employees’ parents
Employee Benefits: International coffee organisation Starbucks is to launch a new parent care programme in China, providing employer-paid critical illness insurance for the parents of its full-time employees. Read story

US security firm UAT Group launches paid bereavement and family leave benefits
Employee Benefits: US security and defence organisation Umbra Applied Technologies (UAT) Group has introduced paid bereavement leave and paid family sick leave as part of its revamped employee benefits package. Read story

More than 500,000 employers complete their auto-enrolment duties
Employee Benefits: More than half a million (503,178) UK employers have completed their pensions auto-enrolment duties as of 31 March 2017, according to research by The Pensions Regulator (TPR). Read story

DWP mulls allowing contracted-out transfers to schemes that never contracted-out
Professional Pensions: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a consultation which considers allowing contracted-out pensioner members to transfer to schemes which have never been contracted-out. Read story

Origo to revise governance structure
Professional Pensions: Origo has announced a new governance structure to provide a clear distinction between its 'standards and governance' services and operational services such as its £100bn Options Transfers service. Read story

Should every weekend be a long weekend?
Personnel Today: With spring’s four bank holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to get used to the concept of the long weekend. Roisin Woolnough examines the growing support for a shorter working week and potential benefits it could bring. Read story

How the BA judgement could change the pensions landscape
Professional Pensions: James Phillips explores how the upcoming judgement in the multi-stranded British Airways case could impact the sector. Read story

Savers could run out of money in 25 years under average drawdown rate
Professional Pensions: Savers using drawdown in retirement are potentially accessing their funds at an unsustainable rate, with money likely to run out within 25 years. Read story

One in five retirees face tax shock by withdrawing over tax-free limit
Professional Pensions: Pensioners are at risk of paying more tax than necessary by withdrawing over 25% of their fund in one lump sum, a Prudential analysis has found. Read story

FCA working group recommends 'five financial rules of thumb’
Professional Pensions: The regulator's Financial Advice Working Group (FAWG) has proposed five financial 'rules of thumb' and 'nudges' designed to help people meet common personal finance needs. Read story

Palm Beach County to introduce six weeks’ paid parental leave for staff
Employee Benefits: The new benefit, which will come into effect at the end of April, will enable eligible employees to take six weeks of parental leave at full pay for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. Read story

City of London Corporation achieves 9% take-up of stair climbing challenge
Employee Benefits: The City of London Corporation achieved a 9% take-up rate for its first employee stair climbing challenge. Read story

Mark Smith: Inequalities in survivors’ pension rights
Employee Benefits: The course of true love never did run smooth and nor, it seems, does the law on the pension rights of survivors. Read story

Get your workforce moving: Five tips for combatting office inactivity
HR Magazine: Finding time to exercise can be tough but there are ways staff can stay active even at their desks. Read story

Swiss Re Group Watch: Group protection grows by 4.5%
Cover: Swiss Re's annual Group Watch report has shown 'positive signs' for the UK group risk market in 2016, with the number of new members covered by group risk policies increasing by almost 520,000 more people. Read story

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