At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 13-20 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 13-20 April.

Royal Mail to close defined benefit pension scheme to future accrual
Employee Benefits: The organisation will close the Royal Mail pension plan to future accrual from 31 March 2018, subject to trustee approval. Read story

12m people covered by group risk schemes in 2016
Employee Benefits: More than 12 million individuals were covered by group risk schemes at the end of 2016, according to research by Swiss Re. Read story

Total pay increases by 0.2% in real terms
Employee Benefits: Total pay, including bonuses, increased by 0.2% in real terms in Great Britain between December 2015-February 2016 and December 2016-February 2017, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Read story

69% believe eyecare benefits can look after and save eyesight for staff aged over 40
Employee Benefits: More than two-thirds (69%) of employer respondents believe providing an eyecare benefit for staff aged over 40 is relevant for helping to look after and save eyesight, according to research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. Read story

Employees feel pressured to respond to work 24/7
HR Magazine: Losing access to emails can cause stress, particularly for younger generations. Read story

TPR: Do not undermine confidence in dashboard by rushing it
Professional Pensions: Lesley Titcomb has warned the industry not to "run too far, too fast" in the design of the pensions dashboard. Read story

TPR securing first criminal convictions signal an 'effective' watchdog
Professional Pensions: The industry welcomes the regulator taking a tough line over refusals to comply with its investigations. Read story

No changes to Johnston Press equalisation despite missing documents
Pensions Expert: A legal dispute involving trustees of the Johnston Press Pension Plan about the equalisation of retirement ages has been put to bed by the Scottish Court of Session, using a quirk of law known as the “presumption of regularity”. Read story

Post Office surplus raises union affordability complaints
Pensions Expert: The Post Office section of the Royal Mail Pension Plan remains in surplus, its latest funding update shows, just weeks after it was closed to future accrual amid union consternation. Read story

Brexit pressure hitting work-life balance, say quarter of public sector staff
People Management: Public sector staff fear Brexit will increase workload and workplace pressures while having a negative impact on work-life balance, new research has found. Read story

Pension investments soar in 2016
Corporate Adviser: New pension investments rose by 24 per cent to £17.4bn in 2016, excluding transfers, up from £14bn in 2015, according to figures from intermediary database provider Equifax Touchstone. Read story

Women’s pensions a third the size of men’s
Corporate Adviser: Women have barely a third the pension savings of men, with their average pot just £24,900 compared to the £73,600 held by males, new research has found. Read story

Andrew West: How can employers support older staff in the workplace?
Employee Benefits: The government’s Fuller working lives strategy identifies the need for employers to support older workers, not just to stay in work, but to continue developing, learning and changing jobs, even changing careers. Read story

Rachael Saunders: How can employers support older staff in the workplace?
Employee Benefits: Businesses urgently need to encourage and enable older people to continue working later in life. Read story

Brian Beach: How can employers support older staff in the workplace?
Employee Benefits: The need to identify policies and strategies to retain older workers will grow ever more crucial into the future as the age profile of the labour market changes. Read story

Bromley tilts towards income as outflows bite
Pensions Expert: Faced with a projected cash outflow of nearly £5m in 2016-17, the London Borough of Bromley pension fund is trying to keep income up with a new investment strategy. Read story

Generation X 'unrealistic' by relying on property to fund retirement
Professional Pensions: Nearly half (47%) of 35 to 54-year-olds plan to use property to fund their retirement lifestyles, with some anticipating this despite not yet owning their own home. Read story

The best cost-effective benefits
HR Magazine: Think you need to splash the cash to great results? Not so. Perks can be cheap but very effective. Read story

Penguin Random House UK to pay work experience candidates the national living wage
Employee Benefits: Publishing organisation Penguin Random House UK will pay all work experience participants the national living wage and offer accommodation support for candidates that live outside of London. Read story

New Zealand government offers $2bn pay settlement to 55,000 care staff
Employee Benefits: The New Zealand government has offered to increase pay for 55,000 employees in the care and support sector as part of a $2 billion (£1.1 billion) five-year pay equity settlement. Read story

Pensions Ombudsman rejects Standard Life employee’s transfer value complaint
Employee Benefits: The Pensions Ombudsman has rejected a complaint by a Standard Life employee, which claimed that the organisation mishandled his request for a new cash equivalent transfer value (CETV). Read story

‘Lazy’ employers ‘should pay a premium for zero-hours contracts’
People Management: Taylor review suggests new rates to discourage insecure work – but general election may delay findings. Read story

Bernard Matthews deal 'lined owner's pockets' at expense of DB scheme
Professional Pensions: The former owners of Bernard Matthews have been criticised for rejecting a takeover deal which would have stopped its defined benefit (DB) scheme from entering the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). Read story

PPF helps prevent pre-pack administration sale of Pulse Flexible Packaging
Professional Pensions: The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has helped block the sale of a packaging firm after a potential buyer initiated plans to drop its pension scheme obligations. Read story

Parliament debates GIP incentives
Corporate Adviser: Group income protection could be the key to promoting the Government’s aim of greater investment in employees’ health and wellbeing, Disability minister Penny Mordaunt MP told a debate in Parliament yesterday. Read story

The Big Interview: Steve Butler sets out Punter Southall’s new platform strategy
Corporate Adviser: The switch of responsibility for retirement from the employer to the individual is arguably the biggest opportunity in financial services. Leaving that opportunity to the big boys is simply not an option says Punter Southall Aspire chief executive Steve Butler. Read story

43% do not provide regular benefits communications
Employee Benefits: More than two-fifths (43%) of employer respondents do not provide regular updates on their employee benefits offering to staff, according to research by Chase de Vere and Lightbulb. Read story

Indiana University introduces six weeks of paid parental leave
Employee Benefits: US-based Indiana University (IU) has introduced a new paid parental leave policy for staff, which will allow eligible employees to take up to six weeks of fully-paid leave. Read story

Snap election puts triple lock, state pension age, and tax relief 'up for grabs’
Professional Pensions: Theresa May's surprise announcement to hold a general election on 8 June has thrown into doubt the future of the state pension triple lock and qualifying age. Read story

Trustees must do more as hackers are 'ahead in the game’
Professional Pensions: Hackers are "ahead in the game" when it comes to bypassing cyber-security and trustees must do more to protect members says RSM's Elisabeth Storey. Read story

Altmann: Manifestos should tackle pension discrimination against women
Corporate Adviser: Reforms to state and private pensions policies that still discriminate against women should form part of the manifestos of political parties ahead of the General Election says former pension minister Baroness Altmann. Read story

One in 10 big employers planning Lifetime Isa alternative to pension
Corporate Adviser: A majority of large employers are planning to offer the Lifetime Isa or Workplace Isa, with one in 10 considering allowing all pension contributions to be diverted into the plans, a survey by Willis Towers Watson has found. Read story

The line manager's role in engagement
HR Magazine: Line managers are key to reaching all levels. But how can you engage with the engagers? Read story

Uber is granted right to appeal in UK worker-status case
Employee Benefits: Uber has been granted the right to appeal against an Employment Tribunal ruling that found that the organisation’s drivers are employed as workers and are entitled to the national minimum wage and holiday pay. Read story

Digital Catalyst to fly staff to Ibiza for team-building holiday
Employee Benefits: Private healthcare marketing organisation Digital Catalyst is to take its staff to Ibiza for a three-day holiday to boost employee engagement and motivation, and help increase teamwork within the business. Read story

39% are somewhat likely to provide access to a Lifetime Isa in the next five years
Employee Benefits: More than a third (39%) of employer respondents are somewhat likely to provide staff with access to a Lifetime individual savings account (Lisa) over the next five years, according to research by Willis Towers Watson. Read story

May's election U-turn
Reward Guide: The Prime Minister has announced her plan to call a snap general election on 8 June. Jenna Gadhavi examines the implications for pensions. Read story

Is this the end for long-term incentives?
People Management: Companies should consider voluntarily complying with BEIS proposals on director pay and employee power, says legal expert Nicholas Stretch. Read story

Segars to leave PLSA after 12 years
Professional Pensions: Joanne Segars is stepping down as chief executive of the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) after leading it for more than 10 years. Read story

Tata Steel 'offers' £520m payment for British Steel scheme
Professional Pensions: Tata Steel has reportedly offered a one-off £520m payment into the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) in an attempt to cut ties with the fund. Read story

Time for a bold new pensions policy
Professional Pensions: The upcoming general election is an opportunity to put forward a bolder pension policy says Hilary Salt. Read story

Over two-thirds of large employers mull offering LISA or WISA
Professional Pensions: Large employers may begin offering a lifetime or workplace ISA as part of their employee benefits package within the next five years, Willis Towers Watson research has revealed. Read story

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