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 headlines you might have missed between 7-14 May 2015.

Firms tell gay couples: Wed or lose your benefits
WSJ Business: Amid push to make same-sex unions legal, some employers tell gay workers they must marry to keep coverage for partners. Read story

Free houses and bags of cash: 16 amazing employee benefits you wish you had
Asia One Business: Slogging away with no end is becoming less common among employees of some of the  fastest rising firms in the East. Read story

Three-quarters of bankers not happy with bonus
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Only a quarter of bankers are happy with their annual bonus despite receiving more than £10bn collectively. Read story

Working class actors earning £10,000 less than middle class peers
HR Grapevine: The study by Goldmsiths University and London School of Economics surveyed 400 actors and found that just ten per cent came from working class backgrounds while 73% had parents in professional or managerial jobs. Read story

Co-Operative employees to receive 8.5% pay rise
Employee Benefits: More than 60,000 Co-Operative employees will see rates of pay increase by at least 8.5% over the next two years after a pay settlement was agreed. Read story

Compliance top issue driving DC pensions
Employee Benefits: More than half (56%) of respondents say compliance with legislation is their top issue driving their defined contribution (DC) pensions provision, according to research by Towers Watson. Read story

Laurus Development launches employee ownership trust
Employee Benefits: As part of its move from the public to the private sector, the qualification and learning provider to the justice sector is now 25% owned by its employees. Read story

Retiring DB members to receive transfer quotes and financial advice
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The poll, carried out at KPMG events, also found that a third of schemes planned to offer partial transfers, and many were exploring options to improve advice and guidance in response to new retirement flexibilities. Read story

Lufthansa Group pension deficit reaches €10.2bn
Employee Benefits: The deficit of the airline’s scheme reached €10.2 billion (£7.4 billion) at 31 March according to the group’s first quarter earnings report. Read story

34% concerned about work-related stress
Employee Benefits: Just over a third (34%) of respondents are concerned about work-related stress, according to research by health and safety consultancy Arinite. Read story

Sainsbury's closes deficit after strong asset returns
Pensions Expert: Sainsbury’s Pension Scheme has reduced its deficit by £28m, despite low interest rates and a fall in the real discount rate, as many schemes struggle to control their funding levels. Read story

Samsung adds new perks to flex and revamps communications
Employee Benefits: The technology organisation has also introduced new communication techniques to promote the new benefits available, as well as its annual flex window. Read story

Emirates staff receive bonus worth nine weeks’ pay
Employee Benefits: Emirates has awarded its 84,000 staff globally a bonus payment worth nine-weeks’ pay as part of its profit share scheme, after the airline posted its second ever highest annual profit. Read story

Basic pay expected to grow 1.8% in coming year
Employee Benefits: Basic pay is expected to grow by 1.8% in the coming year, down from 2% in the previous quarter, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Read story

Nationwide increase in workplace benefits satisfaction
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The majority of employees across the country are happy with their workplace benefits - though those in the south are more content. Read story

Clear disconnect' in employer mental health support
Workplace Savings & Benefits: According to a Bupa survey released at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, half of the UK's workers have never been asked one-to-one about stress, depression or anxiety at work. Read story

Euro regulator launches stress test for DB and DC schemes
Professional Pensions: The European pensions regulator has launched a stress test to look at the impact of a market crash or longevity shock on defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) schemes. Read story

Iain Duncan Smith remains as work and pensions secretary
Professional Pensions: A former leader of the Tory party, he will be responsible for overseeing £12bn in welfare cuts at the Department for Work and Pensions. Read story

Ros Altmann confirmed as pensions minister
Money Marketing: Prior to the election Altmann said she would be minister responsible for consumer protection and education. Read story

Hertfordshire County Council uses rehab benefits to control absence
Employee Benefits: Hertfordshire County Council aims to improve employee absence rates by offering rehabilitation benefits to all 10,000 employees. Read story

Satisfaction with benefits rises
Pay & Benefits: Satisfaction with employee benefits has increased, according to research for PMI Health Group. Read story

Numbers stack up for UK accountants as bonuses and pay grow
Workplace Savings & Benefits: More than three quarters (76%) of accountants expect to see their salaries increase further while bonus pools are expected to top £1.2bn. Read story

Betfred offers staff short-term loans
Employee Benefits: Betting firm Betfred is offering short-term loans of up to £1,000 per year for its 10,000 employees. Read story

Income protection take up could treble if part funded by employers
Employee Benefits: Its UK employee benefit trends study, which surveyed 500 employees and 300 employers, also found that take up of life insurance could potentially rise from 23% to 59%. Read story

eBay shareholders vote against release of pay gap information
HR Grapevine: Shareholders of online auction company ebay have voted against the release of infromation on the company's pay gaps when it comes to gender. Read story

Lloyds shareholders urged to vote against CEO's pay
HR Grapevine: Lloyds Banking Group shareholders have been called upon to veto a “highly-excessive” £11.5million pay packet for CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio. Read story

British Gas appeals holiday pay decision
Employee Benefits: British Gas has lodged an appeal with the Employment Appeal Tribunal over what elements of commissionable pay fall within the calculation of holiday pay. Read story

Highest pay rises for four years
Workplace Savings & Benefits: According to the Office for National Statistics, average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for March 2015 was £460 per week before tax and other deductions. Read story

Simplyhealth sells PMI business to Axa PPP
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Simplyhealth has sold its private medical insurance (PMI) business and its administration to Axa PPP healthcare, subject to regulatory approval. Read story

One in five DC schemes to offer flexible drawdown
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Almost a fifth of defined contribution (DC) pension schemes will offer flexible drawdown as a result of the freedom and choice reforms, found a Linklaters study. Read story

New research reveals staff earnings for toilet and coffee breaks
HR Grapevine: The average British employee earns £746.06 on the loo and £539.53 enjoying a cuppa every year, new research shows. Read story

Network Rail staff reject pay deal
Employee Benefits: The rail operator had proposed to make a one-off lump sum payment of £500 this year. Salaries would then rise each year from 2016 to 2019 in line with the retail prices index level of inflation. Read story

Next could face legal claims over Sunday overtime decision
Personnel Today: Retail chain Next could face unfair dismissal or even age discrimination claims after forcing employees who work on a Sunday to give up their overtime. Read story

Judges rule UK pensioners can recover 71% on claims against Nortel
Professional Pensions: Judges in the US and Canada have ruled Nortel’s assets of $7bn (£4.5bn) should be equally distributed among its creditors, in what lawyers say is a victory for UK pensioners. Read story

Here's how America's leading tech companies treat new mothers
DCInno: In honor of Mother’s Day and mothers everywhere, DC Inno reached out the "10 best tech companies to work for in 2015”. Read story

Why salary sacrifice schemes are set to explode
Mobile Today: After announcing deals with John Lewis and Morrisons, distributor Exertis predicted that sales of its salary sacrifice schemes would soar by 300% in 2015, while employee benefits firm Personal Group acquired MVNO Shebang to bolster the company’s salary sacrifice capabilities. Read story

Why are British businesses so bad at onboarding staff?
REB: Over the past few weeks, I have had a number of conversations about onboarding, in particular in relation to employee benefits. Read story

Even the experts are dissatisfied with CEO pay disclosure
Standford Business: Investors say proxy statements are too long and too difficult to read. Read story

Millennials become the biggest generation in the U.S. workforce
Wall Street Journal: Millennials, generally described as 18-to-34-year-olds, have moved past Generation X to become the largest generation in the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Read story

Why you should educate your employees on financial health
Forbes: According to the 2013 Milliman Medical Index, annual medical costs for a family of four are now higher than a year of groceries. And you likely feel the pressure at home and at work. Read story

Time for a balanced view on Steve Webb's legacy
Corporate Adviser: His deep knowledge of the subject matter, analytical mind and willingness to engage with the industry set him apart from pretty much all of the predecessors that passed through the revolving door of his office in the years before him. Read story

Unemployment reaches seven-year low, reveals ONS
People Management: UK employment has reached 31.1 million, while jobless figures are at a seven-year low, ONS figures revealed today. Read story

Toyota executives gain pay rise after profits boost
HR Grapevine: Toyota Motor Corp plans to boost directors pay by 20% after a 19% profit surge. Read story

PPL rewards loyalty with Brit Awards tickets
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Employees who stay for five years at PPL are rewarded with tickets to the star studded Brit Awards. Read story

Employers back splitting cost of AE contribution increases
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Two-thirds of employers believe increases to auto-enrolment (AE) contribution levels should be equally borne by employers and employees. Read story

DLA Piper increases maternity benefits
Employee Benefits: DLA Piper is offering an enhanced shared parental leave (SPL) policy for its 2,100 employees. Read story

ITV employees strike over pay
Employee Benefits: Staff at ITV are staging a 24-hour strike today (14 May) after rejecting the broadcasting organisation’s 2% pay increase offer for 2015 in January. Read story

Long-term incentives for executives should be scrapped
Employee Benefits: Long-term incentive plans (L-tips) should be scrapped for executives, and performance-related pay should be given in cash rather than shares, to prevent executives from benefiting from sudden increases in the share price caused by external factors, according to research by The High Pay Centre. Read story

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