At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 28 July - 3 August 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 28 July - 3 August.

Reward, pensions and employee benefits press stories
Steve Bee: Baby-boomer myths and the state pension magic money tree
Money Marketing: Contrary to the US and others, our real baby-boom did not happen until the 1960s. This is why we should fear even more shooting-from-the-hip reforms to the state pension system. Read story

Martin Tilley: Let’s help the FCA improve pension freedoms
Money Marketing: The two largest assets an individual is likely to own are their house and their pension fund. Read story

Barclays' pension deficit rises nearly a third in one year
Professional Pensions: The actuarial funding deficit on Barclays' main defined benefit (DB) scheme has risen to £7.9bn in its September 2016 triennial valuation, following falls in gilt yields. Read story

Retired household income up 14.9% since 2008
Professional Pensions: Retirees have seen their disposable income grow by around £3,000 since the end of the 2008 financial year, latest data reveals. Read story

HMRC returns £27m of overpaid tax to pension freedom users
Professional Pensions: More than 10,000 counts of tax overpayment relating to pension freedoms have led to a £26.8m bill for HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC), latest data has revealed. Read story

Government waives penalties for underpaying social care staff on sleep-in shifts
Employee Benefits: The government has waived financial penalties for employers in the social care sector that relate to the underpayment of staff during sleep-in shifts up to 26 July 2017. Read story

Supreme Court rules in favour of employee’s former spouse in pension divorce case
Employee Benefits: The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal from the former spouse of a retired British Coal employee in a case concerning the period of pension scheme membership that should be taken into account upon the division of assets. Read story

44% believe gender pay gap reporting will not encourage action to close the pay gap
Employee Benefits: More than two-fifths (44%) of employer respondents believe that the gender pay gap reporting requirements will not lead to organisations taking action to close the gender pay gap, according to research by the Young Women’s Trust. Read story

Prepaid cards – the answer to flexible rewarding?
Incentive and Motivation: Anyone who’s agonised over Christmas or birthdays knows the importance, and challenge, of finding the right present. Choosing workplace incentives is just as important, and it’s perhaps even harder to choose well. Few employers claim to know their staff as well as their family or friends. Fewer still, if they did, would find they all shared similar tastes. Read story

Dads ‘silently struggling’ with work-life balance
People Management: A global study of 250,000 participants has found that men are struggling to juggle work and family life just as much as women, but feel less able to talk about the issue. Read story

Eight million auto-enrolled: but does more need to be done?
Reward Guide: Auto-enrolment meeting targets – but employers and employees still have much to consider. Read story

More people accessing freedoms, but industry image concerns remain
Pensions Expert: The number of people taking advantage of pension freedoms increased in the second quarter of this year, but while this signals an increased awareness of freedom and choice, experts say there is still a need to improve trust in the industry. Read story

BBC pensions cap ruling offers reassurance to DB employers
Pensions Expert: A Court of Appeal judgment safeguarding the BBC's right to cap increases to pensionable salary has reassured employers that they can take reasonable steps to address their defined benefit deficits, according to pensions lawyers. Read story

GKN scheme closures and debt issuance to combat £1bn deficit
Pensions Expert: Engineering firm GKN has closed its UK defined benefit pension schemes to future accrual, and plans to use proceeds from a debt issuance to plug a £1bn deficit on its UK post-retirement obligations. Read story

Hammond considers cutting higher-rate tax relief
Professional Pensions: A cut in higher-rate pension tax relief could be on the cards for the November Budget, according to Treasury insiders. Read story

Standard Life: Make partial DB transfer advice mandatory
Money Marketing: Standard Life says the proposal would see a move away from the current “all or nothing” approach. Read story

Holiday pay: regular voluntary overtime included, says EAT
Personnel Today: Payments for purely voluntary overtime should be included in holiday pay if they are regular enough to constitute “normal pay”, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed. Read story

FCA findings reflect a continued lack of understanding around new pension rules
Reward Guide: Accessing pensions pots early can lead to lack of retirement savings, finds Jonathan Watts-Lay, director, WEALTH at work. Read story

Gift cards most common awards used in recognition programs
Incentive and Motivation: According to the CultureNext Employee Engagement and Benchmark Study, 80% of companies believe their recognition programs are at least moderately effective in driving employee engagement. Read story

Opinion: What can UK businesses learn from the Uber debacle?
People Management: Patrick Woodman examines the dangers of toxic working cultures, and what employers can do to build trust between management and staff. Read story

Employers should consult unions on changes to contracts, says court
People Management: Businesses should consult unions before making changes to contracts that will affect their members, the Court of Appeal has said, in a ruling that could have wide-ranging repercussions for employers. Read story

Ikea UK gives staff one weekend off in four to improve work-life balance
Employee Benefits: Retail organisation Ikea UK has introduced an initiative to give all of its 10,400 retail staff at least one weekend off in every four. Read story

MNOPF: Trustees must step up and play their part
Professional Pensions: Rory Murphy, trustee chairman of the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund, tells Stephanie Baxter why trustees must take more responsibility and not shift blame onto advisers and managers. Read story

TPR interventions soar 468% in AE compliance cases
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) used its formal powers 50,068 times in just 12 months to ensure high levels of compliance with the auto-enrolment regime. Read story

Total DB deficit falls 9% over July
Professional Pensions: The collective deficit of defined benefit (DB) schemes decreased by £40bn to £420bn over July, according to PwC's monthly Skyval index. Read story

Zurich launches travel safety app for group risk customers
Cover: Zurich has launched a travel app for its group protection customers and their employees. Read story

Taking on the PMI myths
Reward Guide: Many employers are still not exploring how health insurance could help their workforce. Maggie Williams looks at some of the reasons behind this reluctance. Read story

Bank of England staff strike over pay dispute
Employee Benefits: Maintenance, parlour and security employees who work at the Bank of England and are members of the trade union Unite are undertaking a three-day strike in a dispute over pay. Read story

£150bn cash injection over past decade has barely dented FTSE 100 deficits
Professional Pensions: The accounting position of FTSE 100 defined benefit (DB) schemes has worsened from a £12bn surplus to a £17bn deficit over the last 10 years despite mammoth contributions. Read story

PASA pilots master trust administration standard
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) is piloting an administration accreditation standard for master trusts PP can reveal. Read story

Public finances boosted by £5.1bn a year by rise in women's state pension age
Professional Pensions: Movements to equalise the state pension age (SPA) between men and women have led to more than £5bn of extra money for the government, latest analysis reveals. Read story

Opinion: Rewarding mobility
Reward Guide: In the past, within the area of global mobility, there has been a tendency for firms to throw money at the issue assuming that the monetary drivers of expatriation are the most important aspects of being on assignment; more so, in fact, than they really are. Read story

Prospect of IR35 extension to private sector tops contractors’ concerns
People Management: Experts say worries unsurprising given ‘havoc’ caused by public sector changes. Read story

Average advertised salaries fall by 0.6%
Employee Benefits: Average advertised salaries in the UK fell by 0.6% between June 2016 and June 2017, according to research by Adzuna. Read story

UK Power Networks to launch online financial education programme
Employee Benefits: Electricity supply organisation UK Power Networks to launch an online financial education programme for its 5,700 UK-based employees. Read story

DLA Piper enhances parental benefits for Hong Kong staff
Employee Benefits: Global law firm DLA Piper has extended its paid maternity and paternity leave policies for its 200 Hong Kong-based employees, and launched a maternity coaching programme for new and expectant parents. Read story

Ros Altmann: Why we must stop bashing pension freedoms
Money Marketing: The new flexibilities provide much better retirement outcomes but there is more to be done to ensure the system works fairly for all. Read story

IBM wins appeal over pensionable pay cap
Professional Pensions: The Court of Appeal has sided with IBM Holdings in a battle over the closure of its defined benefit (DB) schemes and a cap on increases in pensionable pay. Read story

PMI to undertake 'root and branch' review of qualifications
Professional Pensions: Pensions Management Institute (PMI) will review all of its qualifications as it seeks to adapt its offering to the changing pensions landscape. Read story

How the PMI is evolving with a changing membership
Professional Pensions: PMI outgoing president Kevin LeGrand and incoming president Robert Branagh talk to James Phillips about the organisation's plans and the industry's challenges. Read story

Bournemouth University to roll out sustainability and wellbeing scheme
Employee Benefits: Bournemouth University is to roll out a sustainability and wellbeing programme to all of its 2,000 employees following a six-month pilot programme. Read story

British Land gains living wage accreditation for London sites
Employee Benefits: Commercial property organisation British Land has been accredited as a living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation. Read story

Employment tribunal rules against Addison Lee in employment status case
Employee Benefits: The London Central Employment Tribunal has ruled that a former cycle courier who worked for car and courier organisation Addison Lee was employed as a worker, not as an independent contractor, and should have been entitled to employment rights including holiday pay and the national minimum wage. Read story

Average FTSE 100 chief executive pay falls to £4.5m
Employee Benefits: Chief executive officers (CEOs) who work for the UK’s top 100 organisations receive an average annual pay package of £4.5 million a year, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the High Pay Centre. Read story

Opinion: What does the rising state pension age mean for employers?
People Management: Former pensions minister Steve Webb explains why businesses which work with, rather than against, older workers will be the long-term winners. Read story

Four Ways to Increase Innovation in the Workplace
Incentive and Motivation: Despite innovation being one of the latest buzz words in businesses with leaders and managers striving to achieve high levels of it, a surprisingly high number of organisations are unclear on how to bring about and maintain successful innovation and creativity. how can you increase innovation in the workplace and also lead an innovative workforce in this competitive and ever changing world? Read story

A – Z of voluntary benefits: Part five
Reward Guide: Voluntary benefits have changed rapidly over the past 15 years, as benefits that employees would have traditionally bought for themselves are now readily available through their workplaces. Kimberley Dondo reports. Read story

Read the next article

Why one size does not fit all for employee benefits

Topic Categories

Sponsored Articles

Editor's Picks

Join our community


Sign up for REBA Professional Membership and join our community

Professional Membership benefits include receiving the REBA regular email alert, gaining access to free research and free opportunities to attend specialist conferences.

Professional Membership is currently complimentary for qualifying reward and benefits practitioners. 

Join REBA today