At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week

Your quick-read round up of the reward and benefits stories appearing in the press from 1-7 May.

The headines you might have missed.

Employers hit with first escalating auto-enrol fines
Money Marketing: In the first quarter of the year, 198 firms were hit with £400 fixed penalty notices, compared to 166 in the last quarter of 2014 and just three firms prior to that. Read story

Can Apple and IBM change health care? Five big questions
Forbes:  IBM IBM -1.01% and Apple AAPL -0.65% announced that they are partnering with Japan Post, which is among other things the largest health- and life-insurance company in Japan. Read story

Five reasons benefits enrollment will go electronic this year
Employee Benefits News: During the late ’90s, when employee self-service was making its break into the HR market, many of us were mesmerized with the new vendors that entered the market demonstrating Web-based benefit enrollment solutions. Read story

How IGCs are changing pensions governance
HR magazine: DC pensions governance changed in April 2015, including the introduction of independent governance committees. Read story

When what comes down doesn’t go up
The Economist: Salaries in rich countries are stagnating even as growth returns, and politicians are paying heed. They may struggle to improve things—and could make them worse. Read story

ECJ judgement on Collective Consultation
CIPP: A much anticipated judgement from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been handed down that should restore the headcount process when considering the need for collective consultation. Read story

Want to do something about income inequality? Start tipping more.
The Washington Post: Don't wait for the minimum wage to be increased — just give people money. Read story

Olympic Airlines insolvency affects pension benefits
Employee Benefits: The Supreme Court has ruled that Olympic Airlines is unable to enter the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) because it did not have an establishment in the UK during its insolvency proceedings. Read story

MetLife: The more benefits, the happier the employee
Employee Benefits News: Retention was cited as the main objective of employee benefits by 41% of employers surveyed in MetLife’s 13th annual employee benefit trends study. Read story

Saga shows dedication to DB with 10-year recovery plan
Pensions Expert: Amid the wider trend of scheme closures, over-50s specialist Saga has vowed to keep its defined benefit plan open to members, revealing details of a 10-year deficit recovery plan. Read story

John Lewis deficit swells by £250m, steadfast on strategy
Pensions Expert: John Lewis Pension Scheme’s deficit has risen by close to £250m since the start of 2014, but the company plans to stick to its strategic counter-measures agreed earlier this year. Read story

Burberry and GSK extend living wage
Employee Benefits: Burberry and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have extended their commitment to pay the living wage to include their sub-contracted and third-party workforces at sites across the UK. Read story

How would your employees spend a £500 windfall?
HR Director: Most employees would take extra holiday and invest in long-term savings plans instead of cash rewards if offered a one-off bonus of £500, PwC research shows. Read story

Tribunal rejects appeal opposing transparency for PMI fees
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has dismissed an appeal claiming private medical insurers restricted competition in private healthcare. Read story

Group risk rehab returns 1,500 to work early
Workplace Savings & Benefits: More than 1,500 employees returned to work following rehabilitation from group risk benefits, according to trade body Group Risk Development (Grid). Read story

E.On informs staff about childcare and pension reforms
Employee Benefits: E.On has been educating its 11,000 employees about shared parental leave, the forthcoming changes to tax-free childcare policy and what the newly implemented pension freedoms mean for them. Read story

Eleco scheme to enter PPF after company restructuring
Professional Pensions: The Eleco pension scheme is close to being taken into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) following a major restructuring of the company. Read story

McDonald's workers plan 'biggest-ever protest' as company announces changes
The Guardian: McDonald’s workers will gatecrash the burger company’s shareholder meeting later this month with “the biggest ever protest” demanding an end to “poverty wages” paid to many of its 420,000 staff. Read story

Biggest businesses cut pension contributions as deficits rise almost 50%
Professional Pensions:  FTSE 100 companies reduced contributions to plug deficits in defined benefit (DB) pension schemes by 23% in the last accounting year, according to research from JLT Employee Benefits. Read story

David Ludlow: Gender pay disparity is set to become more transparent
Employee Benefits: In the next 12 months, large firms with more than 250 employees will have to publish the average salaries of both genders. Read story

A fifth of HRDs expect 10 per cent rise in professionals' salaries
Pay & Benefits: More than one in five HR directors (HRDs) have anticipated wage rises in their companies of more than 10 per cent for permanent professional level staff in the next year. Read story

Fitch launches financial education
Employee Benefits: The retail and brand consultancy, which is part of the WPP Group, will add the programme to its reward package. Read story

Lehman Brothers agrees £675 million pension buy-in
Employee Benefits: Financial services firm Lehman Brothers has agreed a £675 million buy-in transaction for its pension scheme with insurance firm Rothesay Life, following its application for bankruptcy in 2008. Read story

Pension freedoms prompt review of scheme design
Employee Benefits: Pension schemes have begun to evolve in terms of the member support they provide and and their at-retirement investment design, according to research by The Defined Contribution Investment Forum (DCIF). Read story

Most schemes plan to give transfer quotes to retiring DB members
Professional Pensions: Three quarters of defined benefit (DB) schemes intend to provide transfer quotes to members as part of their standard retirement process, research finds. Read story

Thousands flock to MAS adviser directory in first month
Professional Pensions: As many as 6,000 people have accessed the Money Advice Service's (MAS) retirement adviser directory in its first month of operation, the consumer body has said. Read story

Legal & General generates 'record' cash as pension freedom strategy pays off
Professional Pensions: Legal & General (L&G) has generated a 'record' £330m in cash in the first quarter of the year as changes to its business following the pension reforms paid off. Read story

LGPS cuts fixed income as schemes prep for rate rises
Pensions Expert: The Local Government Pension Scheme withdrew more than £1bn from fixed interest securities in the past year, signalling that the sector is preparing for an interest rate rise, investment experts say. Read story

Arup boosts benefits take up among generation Y staff
Employee Benefits: The organisation takes on around 200 to 300 graduates a year, which has changed what employees want from the firm. Read story

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