At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 7-13 August 2020

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 7-13 2020.

At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 7-13 August 2020

James Coney: Providers need to raise standards on DB transfers
Corporate Adviser: Providers are turning a blind eye to the source of DB transfers says Sunday Times personal finance editor James Coney. Read story

Tim Gosling: Taking a global view on pensions
Corporate Adviser: Tim Gosling, head of policy at The People's Pension and co-editor of a new book about international pensions, looks at what the UK can learn from other nations. Read story

ITV offers £31m to support Box Clever Pension Scheme
Professional Pensions: ITV has submitted a £31m offer to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) for the Box Clever Pension Scheme after being forced to set out how it would financially support the scheme following a lengthy court process. Read story

Bank of England governor backs ending furlough in October
People Management: Forecasts suggest the majority exiting the job retention scheme will return to work, but bank’s report warns of ‘considerable uncertainty’ ahead. Read story

William Hill to repay government £24 million in furlough costs
Employee Benefits: British bookmakers William Hill will repay the government £24 million for any furlough payments it has received during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

Construction Industry Training Board freezes pay rises and bonuses until 2021
Employee Benefits: Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has put a freeze on pay increases and has also postponed its performance related bonus payments for all of its employees. Read story

Clyde and Co reduces salary for newly qualified solicitors
Employee Benefits: Law firm Clyde and Co has reduced the pay for newly qualified and trainee solicitors to deal with the financial strain of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Read story

Facebook extends remote working policy until July 2021
Employee Benefits: Technology giant Facebook has extended its remote working policy until July 2021 for all of its 52,534 US employees. Read story

Pension schemes urged to use investment disclosures as an engagement tool
Pensions Age: Pension schemes should look to use the upcoming investment disclosure requirements as an opportunity to engage members and help them better understand their pension, Sackers has said. Read story

L&G predicts 25% growth in small- to mid-sized PRT deals despite Covid-19 impact
Pensions Age: The number of small- to mid-sized pension risk transfer (PRT) transactions could increase by up to 25 per cent in 2020 despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to analysis by Legal & General (L&G). Read story

Average pay is rising year-on-year
HR Review: Despite COVID-19 negatively affecting the job market, average pay has risen year-on-year. Read story

Industry backs potential introduction of small pots taskforce
Professional Pensions: More than half of respondents to a Professional Pensions survey would like to see the government launch a small pots taskforce to stop them undermining the success of auto-enrolment (AE). Read story

Covid-19 pushes endgame back by 18 months
Professional Pensions: Defined benefit (DB) schemes will have to wait an extra year and a half on average to agree a buyout compared to their pre-Covid-19 endgame journey plans, Barnett Waddingham estimates. Read story

South Yorks breezes through Covid but warns of potential danger ahead
Pensions Expert: The South Yorkshire Pensions Authority is reducing its exposure to equity market risk, after it escaped the Covid-19 crisis largely unscathed. Read story

North Wales Police introduces wellbeing support for 2,500 staff
Employee Benefits: North Wales Police is introducing a new wellbeing scheme to support the physical and mental health of its 2,500 employees. Read story

87% would stay at an organisation if it commits to employee wellbeing
Employee Benefits: Almost nine in ten (87%) of employees are more likely to stay with an employer if the organisation commits to improving employee wellbeing, according to research by Yulife. Read story

Ministry of Social Development security guards to receive New Zealand living wage
Employee Benefits: Outsourced security guards working at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) will be paid the New Zealand Living wage, effective September 2020. Read story

Staff continue working in HUGE numbers despite furlough
HR Grapevine: As a lifeline to businesses and employees during the coronavirus crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak previously unveiled the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to prevent wide-scale unemployment and to keep people in jobs. Read story

'Main immediate impact' of Covid-related longevity changes on schemes is on liabilities - govt
Pensions Age: The long-term impact of Covid-19 on mortality rates remains “highly uncertain” according to a government technical bulletin, with the "main immediate impact" for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes expected to be on liabilities. Read story

FTSE 350 pension schemes' buyout readiness hit by Covid-19
Pensions Age: The proportion of FTSE 350 defined benefit (DB) schemes in a position to buyout in 10 years decreased by 10 percentage points over the first half of the year, according to Barnett Waddingham. Read story

Coronavirus exacerbates millennial anxiety around personal finances
HR News: Two in five UK workers (40%) report increased financial anxiety in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, but it is millennials (those 25-34) that are the hardest hit with 51% saying they have suffered from increased anxiety around their personal finances according to the new ‘Changing Trends of Financial Wellbeing’ report from Close Brothers. Read story

UK experiences largest drop of employees on payroll since the financial crisis
HR Review: Nearly three-quarters of a million individuals are no longer on company payrolls since Q2 of 2020, which is the largest drop since 2009 during the financial crisis. Read story

Quilter doubles redress provision for British Steel pension transfers
Professional Pensions: Advice giant Quilter has set aside £24m to compensate British Steel workers advised to transfer out of their defined benefit (DB) pensions by Lighthouse, doubling its previous redress provisions. Read story

DB funding - July 2020: PPF 7800 deficit grows another 14%
Professional Pensions: Every month, several firms issue trackers of the aggregate defined benefit (DB) scheme funding position. See here for the July 2020 estimates on the various measures… Read story

Thousands of older staff dropped out of the workforce during lockdown, figures show
People Management: Many over-50s ‘forced into an early retirement they cannot afford’, as employers warned of rise in age discrimination. Read story

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens becomes accredited living wage employer
Employee Benefits: Kitchen remodeler Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens has become a real living wage employer, accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. Read story

US Supreme Court rules Uber and Lyft must classify drivers as employees
Employee Benefits: US ridesharing organisations Lyft and Uber will have to identify all drivers as employees and not independent contractors, following on from a ruling by the superior court of the state of California. Read story

Clifford Chance and Linklaters reduce pay for newly qualified solicitors
Employee Benefits: Law firms Linklaters and Clifford Chance are reducing the pay of newly qualified solicitors to deal with the financial constraints of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

UK businesses lead the way on lockdown wellbeing
Workplace Insight: Business leaders around the world have focused on protecting their employees in their immediate COVID-19 response, with UK CEOs leading the pack on mental wellbeing support. Read story

Six in 10 furloughed concerned about job security
Cover: More than half of employees feel that their emotional wellbeing has been negatively impacted. Read story

Littlewoods scheme completes £930m buy-in with Rothesay Life
Professional Pensions: The Littlewoods Pensions Scheme has completed a buy-in covering just under £930m of around 6,500 members’ benefits with Rothesay Life, the majority of which relate to deferred members. Read story

Young workers opting out of pensions because of Covid crisis, poll suggests
People Management: Research shows employees are reducing or stopping contributions and warns of potential long-term damage to retirement prospects. Read story

6,000 Singapore Airlines employees take unpaid leave
Employee Benefits: Over 6,000 employees at Singapore Airlines (SIA) are taking voluntary unpaid leave to help the airline protect jobs during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

40% of employees aged 18-34 have stopped or reduced pension savings
Employee Benefits: Two-fifths (40%) of employees aged 18-34 have either stopped (12%) or reduced (28%) their pension savings during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, according to research by Royal London. Read story

Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust offers rest pods for front-line employees
Employee Benefits: Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust is offering its emergency department employees specialist rest pods and chairs to relax before and after their shifts. Read story

Why staff at this firm are making pay transparent
HR Grapevine: Disclosing employee wages in the workplace has long been considered a taboo, as employers fear that sharing this knowledge could lead to resentment and jealousy within teams. Read story

93% of pension professionals do not believe DB funding proposals offer 'true flexibility'
Pensions Age: Less than one in ten (7 per cent) pension professionals think there is 'true flexibility' in a proposed bespoke approach to scheme funding, according to research from the Society of Pension Professionals (SPP). Read story

Just 24% of HR teams find feedback strategy very effective for employee engagement
Incentive and Motivation: While UK HR teams have successfully kept employee engagement high during lockdown, three-quarters (76%) believe that their listening and feedback strategies won’t help them meet growing workplace challenges moving forward. Read story

Short-term Covid-19 related pay cuts for some FTSE 100 CEOs fail to address excessive bonus culture
Incentive and Motivation: 36 FTSE 100 companies have announced cuts to executive pay in response to the Covid-19 crisis and economic downturn, but this doesn’t signal a sea change for reining in excessive incentives, new research from the CIPD and the High Pay Centre finds. Read story

Positive changes in how employees now access health and wellbeing benefits
Incentive and Motivation: With employees needing to engage with healthcare differently during the pandemic, it has enlightened many about the variety of wellbeing services that are available remotely and digitally. Read story

Campaign launched for businesses to offer lunch vouchers to incentivise workers’ return to office
HR Review: A company that helps businesses to find an office location is proposing the Government to back an idea where employees who return to work in a city centre are offered a lunch voucher to promote going out to eat during their break. Read story

Bulk annuity sales ”resilient” despite market volatility
Corporate Adviser: Bulk annuities sales have proved to be resilient despite difficult market conditions, with almost £13bn of business placed in the first half of this year. Read story

WPC freedoms inquiry unlikely to be dominated by Covid-19 impacts, says industry
Professional Pensions: The economic impact of coronavirus is unlikely to overshadow the Work and Pensions Committee’s (WPC) inquiry into the success of pension freedoms, the industry believes. Read story

TPR undertaking internal review after Norton Motorcyles case
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) chief executive Charles Counsell has written to Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) chairman Stephen Timms responding to questions over how the watchdog handled issues around the Norton Motorcycles pension schemes. Read story

'True flexibility' in bespoke DB funding code proposal questioned
Professional Pensions: The true level of flexibility for defined benefit (DB) schemes that take the ‘bespoke’ option laid out in the proposed DB funding code needs further clarification, the industry has said. Read story

ICI secures £70m of benefits in ninth buy-in with L&G
Professional Pensions: The ICI Pension Fund has completed its ninth buy-in with Legal & General (L&G), insuring a further £70m of benefits and bringing total insured benefits with L&G to around £5.8bn. Read story

Admiral awards shares worth £1,800 to 10,000 employees
Employee Benefits: Financial services organisation Admiral Group is giving its 10,000 employees shares worth up to £1,800, under its share incentive plan. Read story

Inverclyde Council introduces £125,000 local furlough scheme
Employee Benefits: Inverclyde Council will introduce a local pilot furlough scheme to support businesses and employees during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. Read story

49% of employees believe pay should be based on ability not location
Employee Benefits: Just under half (49%) of employees believe that pay and benefits should be based on ability regardless of where an employee is based, according to research by Remote. Read story

National Express DB pension deficit rises to £135m
Pensions Age: The combined deficit for the National Express defined benefit (DB) pension schemes has increased by £45m over six months to £135m. Read story

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