At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week

Your quick-read round up of the reward and benefits stories appearing in the press in the past seven days.

The headines you might have missed.

Gravity Payments CEO takes 90% pay cut to give workers huge raise
CNN Money: CEO Dan Price took a 90% pay cut and slashed his company's profits just so he could give his employees a raise. Watch video

Next boss promises to forego bonus to subsidise staff pay rise
HR Grapevine: Lord Wolfson, CEO of Next, has promised to distribute his bonus amongst staff if there is not enough funding to enact his pledge to increase shop-floor wages by five per cent. Full story

Lloyds Banking Group invests in employees’ parental responsibilities
Employee Benefits: Lloyds Banking Group understands the importance of supporting working parents with family-focused benefits and flexibility. Full story

National Express to pay staff living wage
Money Market: Birmingham-based bus company National Express has become the biggest private sector employer to say it'll pay the living wage to its staff.

Windsor Castle staff to take industrial action in pay dispute
The Telegraph: Queen faces first industrial action as members of Public and Commercial Services union vote in favour of move that could start from end of April. Full story

Top 50 cool office perks revealed
HR Grapevine: From a games room to Segway scooters, the top 50 cool office perks have been revealed. Full story

How Google Keeps the Best and Brightest Employees
Bloomberg Business: Google head of people operations and ‘Work rules’ author Laszlo Bock discusses employment at Google. Watch video

Skanska saves £250k with driver safety project
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Skanska has saved £250,000 on its fleet costs and reduced its accident rates thanks to a long term driver safety initiative.

Southeastern rewards staff with retail vouchers
Employee Benefits: Train operator Southeastern has rewarded its 4,044 employees with shopping vouchers for their professionalism through the disruption to services during improvement works to London Bridge station. Full story

Barclays investors urged to reject CEO's pay award
Reuters: Barclays shareholders should reject the British bank's remuneration policy, as pay for chief executive Antony Jenkins is "excessive", a shareholder advisory group said on Wednesday. Full story

Arup boosts benefits take up among generation Y staff
Employee Benefits: Arup has seen increased take up of the benefits it offers to cater for generation Y employees. Full story

A force for fairness - what could the European Union do to combat economic inequality?
High Pay Centre: Our new report examines public attitudes towards existing rights at work guaranteed by EU agreements, and potential ways in which the EU could tackle inequality. Full story

Fit for Work: Is it fit for purpose?
HR magazine: The Fit for Work scheme is meant to be simple, but experts are predicting issues for both businesses and individuals. Full story

Improving pay transparency is a major employer challenge
CIPP: More than half of employees believe they are not paid fairly for the work they do and just 37 per cent feel that there is a clear connection between their performance and pay. Full story

How will the changes to childcare vouchers affect staff?
Employee Benefits: The Childcare Payments Bill, announced in the 2013 Budget, will see the current childcare voucher system replaced with tax-free childcare this autumn. Full story

Employer benefits: is this the end of total reward?
Personnel Today: The “demise of total reward” and “total reward is dead” are among the attention-grabbing headlines seen in the benefits world of late. But is it revolution or evolution that is needed? Full story

Lib Dems: The pensions, childcare and employee benefit pledges in full
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The Liberal Democrats will look at introducing a flat-rate pensions tax relief, expand shared parental leave, consider increasing NI thresholds and commit to 20 hours of free childcare a week for all working parents.

Real wages and living standards: the latest UK evidence
London School of Economics: Since the global financial crisis, workers’ real wages and family living standards in the UK have suffered to an extent unprecedented in modern history. Full story

US tops UK relocation list
HR magazine: The US has remained the number one destination for relocations from the UK, as well as the predominant origin country for people moving to the UK, according to a study of Sterling Relocation’s customers. Full story

New exemptions introduced for auto-enrolment
Employee Benefits: Employers will no longer have to automatically enrol employees in certain situations due to changes under government draft legislation. Full story

Axa targets ‘underserved’ market with U.S. product launch
Employee Benefits News: Global financial services giant AXA enters the U.S. employee benefit business for the first time. Full story

Carlsberg UK relaunches flexible benefits scheme
Employee Benefits: Carlsberg UK has relaunched flexible benefits scheme for more than 1,700 employees. Full story

Performance and pride disconnect felt across UK workplaces
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Public sector staff do not believe their pay reflects their performance while private sector workers are not proud of their employer.

Royal Mail reduces absences by one month
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Royal Mail is introducing a nationwide early intervention and case management system that could save it over a month on mental health and muscular-skeletal absences.

Consumers more likely to use Living Wage employers
HR magazine: More than half (58%) of people say they are more likely to use the goods and services of a company if it is a living wage employer, a poll by Nationwide has found. Full story

Peel Ports Group creates own governance committee
Employee Benefits: Peel Ports Group launched its own pension governance committee two years ago to help oversee and support good governance for its stakeholder pension scheme. Full story

Labour vows to scrap tribunal fees
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Labour has promised to abolish the coalition’s employment tribunal fee system should it form the next government.

Trustees urged to demand employer guarantees on contracting out data
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Sponsoring employers could start seeing requests for written confirmation on how member data supplied for the end of contracting out will be used.

MetLife includes health check-ups in wellness week
Workplace Savings & Benefits: All 400 staff at MetLife are being offered individual health consultations on key issues such as Body Mass Index and cholesterol levels.

Aviva completes acquisition of Friends Life
Employee Benefits: The merger will create the UK’s largest insurance and savings business with more than 16 million customers. Full story

Sundial Group commits to living wage
Employee Benefits: Sundial Group has received living wage accreditation for three of its businesses and is committed to receiving accreditation for its two further venues. Full story

Moog Controls boosts pensions engagement
Employee Benefits: Moog Controls has boosted pensions engagement by more than 150% through its bespoke financial education workshops. Full story

200,000 more UK staff protected by group risk schemes
Employee Benefits: The number of employees in the UK covered by group risk insurance grew by 200,000 in 2014, according to a study by Swiss Re. Full story

Government makes AE exception for workers with tax protected pots
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Eligible jobholders with tax protected pension savings are no longer required to be automatically enrolled (AE) under government amendments to draft legislation.

Home Group recognition scheme boosts corporate values
Employee Benefits: Housing charity Home Group offers its staff recognition e-cards to send to one another for helping to better represent its core values and increase employee engagement. Full story

Summer parties motivate staff at Astellas Pharma Europe
Employee Benefits: Astellas Pharma Europe motivates its 550 UK employees in the warmer months by offering summer parties, sports facilities and flexible working arrangements. Full story

New financial wellness in the workplace survey
Society of Human Resource Managers: The purpose of SHRM’s Financial Wellness in the Workplace Survey is to determine whether workers are continuing to struggle financially even as the economy improves and to identify the types of financial challenges employees are experiencing. Full story

Can you sack an employee for having ‘friends with benefits’?
The National Law Review: But did you know that, earlier this year, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Bunning v Centacare [2015] FCCA 280 was faced with the question of whether an employee of a religious organisation could be dismissed for being polyamorous? Full story

L&G workplace savings business lost £15m last year
Corporate Adviser: Legal & General’s low cost workplace savings operation lost £15m last year, though losses were half the £29m lost in 2013, according to an analyst’s briefing note seen by Corporate Adviser.

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