At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 4-10 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 4-10 August.

Why would you…offer a wellness programme?

The Lawyer: There have been many calls to tackle the problem of stress, anxiety and depression in the legal profession. To their credit, firms are more aware of the issues than ever before and many are taking steps to promote mental health among their employees. Yet it takes time to change. Read story

John Lawson: Going back to basics on DB transfers
Money Marketing: DB transfers are the hot topic among clients. But advisers need clarity on the question of accountability should decisions come back to haunt them. Read story

Ombudsman backs Halcrow over indexation reduction following RAA
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has backed the Halcrow Pension Scheme (HPS) trustees after they reduced the level of indexation for transferred-in benefits when members were transferred to another scheme. Read story

BoE: Interest rates may rise faster than expected
Professional Pensions: Interest rates may increase faster in the future than financial markets have priced in, the Bank of England's (BoE) deputy governor has said. Read story

Company cars continue driving employee interest
HR Magazine: Company cars remain a popular benefit despite salary sacrifice changes. But HR should be wary of further rules. Read story

Voluntary overtime must be included in holiday pay
People Management: Glenn Hayes explains the implications from a hugely significant recent ruling from the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Read story

Court backs IBM in DB closure dispute
Pensions Expert: Technology giant IBM’s decision to close its UK DB schemes has been ruled lawful by the Court of Appeal, in the culmination of an eight-year battle over the sponsor’s discretionary powers. Read story

Addison Lee courier wins holiday pay claim in employment-status case
Employee Benefits: The Central London Employment Tribunal has ruled that private car and courier organisation Addison Lee has unlawfully failed to pay a former cycle courier for a weeks’ holiday, misclassifying the courier as self-employed rather than as a worker. Read story

71% believe staff are distracted by personal debt at work
Employee Benefits: Just under three-quarters (71%) of employer respondents believe that employees may be distracted by personal debt problems while at work, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits. Read story

The employee productivity equation
Reward Guide: Don’t believe the stats that show sickness absence is falling. Reward heads still have to work out their Employer Health Service. Read story

Dale Critchley: Workplace nudges can prove beneficial for employers as well as their employees
Corporate Adviser: The success of automatic enrolment is tempered to an extent by the fact that a large proportion of those employers and employees who are new to pension saving are opting to pay the minimum contributions possible. Read story

Is the Taylor Review a step in the right direction?
HR Magazine: The Taylor Review into modern working practices has divided the business community. Read story

Minister announces Data Protection Bill to bring GDPR into UK law
Professional Pensions: The government will introduce a new bill to implement the European Union's (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into British law, it has announced. Read story

Reduced inflation expectations push DB deficit down £9bn
Professional Pensions: The accounting deficit of FTSE 350 defined benefit (DB) schemes fell by £9bn over July on the back of lower long-term inflation expectations, according to Mercer's latest index. Read story

Kidnap and ransom threats increasing for employees
Reward Guide: Employers are underestimating the threat of the kidnap and ransom of their employees. Read story

Clyde Paper and Print gains living wage accreditation
Employee Benefits: Paper product and print media organisation Clyde Paper and Print has been accredited as a living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation. Read story

Aurecon enhances family benefits for Australian and New Zealand staff
Employee Benefits: Engineering organisation Aurecon has enhanced its family-friendly benefits for its 1,890 Australia and New Zealand-based employees, including the launch of a shared care benefit. Read story

Standard Life drawdown assets jump 11% on DB transfers
Money Marketing: Standard Life has reported a double digit increase in assets in its drawdown propositions as more customers look to cash in on inflated defined benefit pension transfer values. Read story

Occupational pensions worst for transfer delays yet failing to help find solutions
Professional Pensions: Occupational schemes and their administrators are lagging behind in their involvement in an industry-wide discussion on slashing transfer delays, Tom McPhail has said. Read story

Nearly 60% of employers fail to personalise pension communications, says research
Professional Pensions: Most companies are not taking enough action to tackle the significant pensions inertia within their workforce, according to a survey by LifeSight. Read story

HMRC advisory panel rules that gold bullion cannot be used to reward staff
Employee Benefits: The General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) advisory panel has ruled that it is not a reasonable course of action for organisations to reward their employees using gold bullion in order to avoid remuneration-associated tax payments. Read story

Brits relying on workplace pensions for a third of their retirement income
People Management: People in the UK now expect roughly a third (32 per cent) of their retirement income to be funded by workplace savings, a new survey has found. Read story

Experts fear further delays to cold-calling ban
Pensions Expert: As the industry awaits the government response to its consultation on a pensions cold-calling ban, there are increased concerns over further delays to protecting the public from scammers. Read story

How GIP and OH can spell health
Reward Guide: Occupational health departments and group income protection providers can make a formidable team to cut workplace absence, writes Maggie Williams. Read story

Pension providers’ fees and exit charges exposed
Money Marketing: Pension providers’ high annual fees and charges have been revealed through research that shows some providers’ exit fees amount to more than 70 per cent of the pension pot. Read story

DB trustees working longer yet pay has fallen
Professional Pensions: Trustees of pension schemes of all sizes are spending more time on their roles yet are on average being paid less, latest analysis from PwC has suggested. Read story

Retired households' disposable income 1.6 times higher with private pensions
Professional Pensions: Some 96% of retired households had disposable incomes of over £10,000 by the end of the 2016 financial year (FYE), a significant rise from just 21% in 1977, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Read story

55% feel their line manager supports their mental health
Employee Benefits: More than half (55%) of employee respondents feel that their line manager supports their mental health, according to research by Mind. Read story

Pimlico Plumbers granted right to appeal in employment-status case
Employee Benefits: Pimlico Plumbers has been granted the right to appeal a Court of Appeal decision which ruled that former plumber Gary Smith worked for the organisation as a worker rather than as a self-employed contractor, entitling him to employment rights such as access to reasonable adjustments and holiday pay. Read story

24% reward proactive staff to improve employee engagement
Employee Benefits: Under a quarter (24%) of employer respondents reward proactive and engaged employees as part of a strategy to improve employee engagement, according to research by Totaljobs. Read story

FTSE 350 defined benefit pension deficit falls to £122bn
Employee Benefits: The accounting deficit of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes for the UK’s largest 350 organisations fell from £131 billion at the end of June 2017 to £122 billion at 31 July 2017, according to research by Mercer. Read story

Understanding the difference between 'equal pay' and 'gender pay gaps’
HR Magazine: The gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay, and people need to understand that. Read story

What motivates a CEO?
Incentive and Motivation: A study on executive engagement has revealed that most CEOs consider the non-financial aspects of their job much more important than their financial reward, and their motivation is intrinsic – done for the feel good factor, instead of the cash. Read story

Tiredness affecting productivity for UK businesses
Reward Guide: An increasing number of employees have admitted to sleep deprivation due to work but not many employers are tackling the issue. Read story

TPR sets out new definition of professional trustee; boosts fines
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has revised its definition of a 'professional trustee' as it moves to improve standards and introduce accreditation of the role. Read story

Buy-in demand to hit £50bn p/a by 2032; De-risking deals total £5.1bn in H1
Professional Pensions: Defined benefit (DB) schemes will offload around £700bn of liabilities to insurers over the next 15 years, latest analysis by Hymans Robertson has suggested. Read story

43% believe financial penalties will help to close the gender pay gap
Employee Benefits: Two-fifths (43%) of employer respondents believe that financial penalties would help to close the gender pay gap. Read story

The Stafford London sees 9% rise in stress resilience following wellbeing challenge
Employee Benefits: Luxury hotel The Stafford London has achieved a 9% increase in its employees’ resilience to stress as a result of a 60-day wellbeing challenge. Read story

Google and Expedia among 2017’s best employers for work-life balance
Employee Benefits: American Express, Expedia, Google and Rolls Royce are among the top 20 organisations for work-life balance, according to research by recruitment website Glassdoor. Read story

Do sleep-in shifts qualify for the minimum wage?
HR Magazine: There are a number of potentially relevant factors to help determine if a worker qualifies. Read story

A – Z of voluntary benefits: Part six
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

Why Trivago doesn't force employees to come into work
HR Grapevine: Trivago, the travel comparison site, has a unique way of maintaining productivity – and it’s not because their algorithms can determine the best ways for employees to get to work, it’s because, in fact, employees aren’t forced to come into the office. Read story

Learnings on changing company compensation
Incentive and Motivation: We’ve all heard that it’s more important than ever for employees to feel that they have that family balance. Time away from the office, flexible working and a good package are all coming in as key for this generation of workers, and with unemployment rates at record lows, the competition for talent has never been tougher to attract people to the business. Read story



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