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 21-28 May 2015.

Bitcoin alternative DNotes launches world's first digital currency employee incentive benefits plan
Digital Journal: Employees need to have a DNotesVault account, and sign up with the link given to their employer, which requires only the employee’s e-mail used to register at DNotesVault. Read story

PIPA 2015: The winners revealed…
Pensions Expert: Pensions Expert can announce the winners of the 16th annual Pension and Investment Provider Awards. Read story

Tesco boss nets £300k pension windfall while cutting DB scheme
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The chief executive of Britain’s biggest retailer is expected to receive a pension contribution of more than £300,000 while pushing plans to close the firm’s defined benefit scheme for employees. Read story

Tesco introduces bonus clawback measures
Employee Benefits: Tesco has introduced new measures to allow it to claw back annual bonuses and performance share plan awards. Read story

KPMG rewards ‘unsung heroes' with paid leave
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Professional service company KPMG has launched its first internal awards ceremony rewarding staff with paid leave and holiday vouchers. Read story

Corporate governance tops Unilever ESG agenda
Pensions Expert: Close to half of Unilever Pension Fund’s engagement activity in 2014 centred on corporate governance as wider trends emphasise environmental issues, calling into question the terms used when reporting such activity. Read story

Telent engages staff with pensions via default investment strategy
Employee Benefits: Technology service organisation Telent engaged its 1,600 employees with pensions and savings through its default investment strategy. Read story

Tax-efficient ways to get workers fighting fit
HR magazine: We all know that a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce. As well as generating a greater output in the working day, healthy employees should have fewer days off work. Read story

Two-thirds of schemes offering pension freedoms
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Two-thirds of defined contribution (DC) pension schemes are offering members the chance to access the freedom and choice reforms launched last month. Read story

How to build financial resilience among lower-paid employees
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Research shows that since the economic downturn low paid employees are suffering more than ever and desperately need to build up better financial buffers. Read story

Scottish government pledges to improve productivity through living wage
Employee Benefits: The Scottish government has launched a voluntary code of conduct aimed at encouraging employers to improve employee productivity and diversity through measures such as paying the national living wage. Read story

Mercer acquires executive reward firm Kepler Associates
Employee Benefits: Kepler, which has more than 20 employees, advises around 16% of FTSE 350 remuneration committees, as well as a growing number of firms overseas. Read story

Align executive pay rises with workforces, says Legal & General
HR Grapevine: Executive pay rises should be in line with that of the general workforce, according to Legal & General Investment Management. Read story

Dog Walkers earn more than teachers, nurses and police officers
HR Grapevine: Dog walkers earn an average of £26,496 a year, taking home more than police, nurses and teachers, according to research conducted by Direct Line Pet Insurance. Read story

Member’s £100,000 fund trapped in suspected pension liberation scheme
Professional Pensions: A pension saver who transferred combined pots of £100,708 into a suspicious scheme has been unsuccessful in unlocking his funds. Read story

One in four have done nothing to prepare for the end of contracting out
Professional Pensions: A worrying number of defined benefit (DB) scheme sponsors appear under-prepared for the end of contracting out says Hymans Robertson. Read story

High Court rules Granada has to pay directors’ pensions top up
Employee Benefits: The High Court has ruled that a pensions top-up arrangement set up to provide security for unfunded pensions promises for four ex-directors at Granada Group did not require shareholder approval to be considered viable. Read story

Queen’s Speech announces doubling of free childcare
Pay & Benefits: Plans to double state-subsidised childcare for the working parents of three- and four-year-olds to 30 hours a week were set out in today's Queen’s Speech to the new parliament. Read story

Investigating the impact of low pay
Pay & Benefits: The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has planned a nationwide tour to collect evidence from businesses and workers for its next recommendations on the national minimum wage (NMW) and low pay. Read story

Almost a third of employees receive no benefits
Pay & Benefits: The number of employees who receive no workplace benefits has risen to almost a third, despite the economic upturn, a Canada Life Group survey has shown. Read story

Warning over death-in-service payouts
Pay & Benefits: Death-in-service payouts risk being caught out by gradual reductions in the lifetime allowance, Steve Herbert of Jelf Employee Benefits has warned. Read story

EDF expects battle over generous staff perks
HR Grapevine: The company hope to buy staff out of a deal dating back to 1946 which allows around 30,000 top level staff to work 32 hours a week or around 196 days a year. Read story

CEO to pay college tuition fees for employees' children
HR Grapevine: Chieh Huang, boss of New York based tech-company Boxed, will be launching a not-for-profit foundation specifically for the project. Read story

Queen's Speech confirms legislation on tax and NI
Employee Benefits: The Queen has confirmed that legislation will be brought forward by government to ensure there are no rises on income tax, value-added tax (VAT) or national insurance for five years. Read story

Landmark boosts staff awareness of wellbeing
Employee Benefits: Landmark Information Group has boosted employees’ overall awareness of their health and wellbeing since introducing its genetically-guided wellness programme. Read story

Ambition hosts wellbeing week for staff
Employee Benefits: Ambition UK has hosted a wellbeing week for its 45 employees for the second year running. Read story

47% not planning to use pension freedoms
Employee Benefits: Almost half (47%) of UK adults are not planning to take advantage of the pension freedoms due to a lack of understanding, finance and confidence, according to research from Avacade Future Solutions. Read story

Ombudsman fines trustee over transfer delays
Professional Pensions: A trustee has been fined £250 for failing to respond to requests for a pension transfer submitted by a fellow trustee of a plumber’s benefit plan known as the TPR Executive Pension Scheme. Read story

High Court throws out appeal against BBC pensionable pay cap
Professional Pensions: The High Court has dismissed an appeal brought against the BBC after it limited the amount of pensionable pay on salary increases to 1% per year in a bid to plugs its scheme deficit. Read story

Queen’s speech: Triple lock guaranteed for five years
Professional Pensions: The government has pledged to keep the triple lock on state pension increases until 2020 and to leave pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel allowance untouched. Read story

Pay deductions for strike
CIPP: How much pay can an employer withhold for a day's strike by a salaried striker? Read story

Exclusivity clauses in zero-hour contracts finally banned
CIPP: Some two months after claiming that they had been banned, the government has prohibited the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts. Read story

What impact is the National Minimum Wage having in your area?
CIPP: The Low Pay Commission will be visiting areas across the UK to gather first hand evidence on the National Minimum Wage and low pay. Read story

L&G’s Adrian Boulding to join Tisa
Money Marketing: Legal and General pensions strategy director Adrian Boulding is to join Tisa as policy strategy director when he leaves the insurer in August. Read story

Capita Employee Benefits selects RiskFirst’s PFaroe to enhance holistic consulting approach
BusinessWire: The agreement means that over a third of UK DB schemes now have an advisor using PFaroe. Read story

Employers wasting free benefits worth £100 per employee
Workplace Saving & Benefits: Employers are “hugely underutilising” value added absence management services that can be worth as much as £100 per employee. Read story

Why Peel Ports is diving into data
Workplace Saving & Benefits: Peel Ports is using HR analytics to fuel its recruitment drive. Read story

Pension buy-outs expected to escalate
Employee Benefits News: In the past two years, the US corporate pension buy-out market has surged with more than $49 billion in transactions, and that trend should continue unabated as large employers try to shift pension debt off their books. Read story

The CareFirst hack: What went right, what went wrong
Employee Benefits News: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield first learned in May 2014 of malware on an information system that was hacked a month later, according to two health information security consultants. But the Blues plan apparently did not realize the malware was not completely eradicated and the system was hacked a month later. Read story

Pension tracing failures: Expats lose £850m
Retirement Planner: About 250,000 expat pensioners are missing out on as much as £850m in lost pension benefits simply because UK pension scheme trustees have been unable to trace them since they moved abroad. Read story

Security of bankrupt’s pension to be challenged in Court of Appeal
Professional Pensions: In the case of Horton v Henry heard in December 2014, the judge held the bankrupt could not be compelled to draw down his pension for the purposes of an Income Payments Order (IPO). Read story

EC De Witt winds up scheme following parent company sale
Professional Pensions: The EC De Witt pension scheme has entered a buyout with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) after its parent company was bought by a private equity firm. Read story

UK can expect pensions act in 2016 to codify IORP
Professional Pensions: The industry should be ready for another pensions act in 2016 which will clarify European regulations for UK schemes, says Dalriada Trustees director Adrian Kennett. Read story

Age UK uses benefits to extend working lives
Employee Benefits: Age UK has launched a programme to help its employees extend their working lives, better prepare for retirement and boost their health and wellbeing in the workplace. Read story

Jamie Oliver's staff throw boss unbelievable birthday bash
HR Grapevine: Engaged employees threw him a 40th birthday bash to remember, capturing his whole experience on camera. Read story

Snapchat staff set for huge windfall as company eyes IPO
HR Grapevine: Staff at Snapchat, the fast paced social media company, could be in line for a huge windfall after its founder confirmed they would make an initial public offering. Read story

Strattan teams up with master trust provider
Corporate Adviser: Former Mercer partner Dick Strattan has been appointed independent strategic adviser to Trust Pensions, a multi-employer master-trust provider for automatic enrolment. Read story

Axa PPP buys Permanent Health Company PMI book
Corporate Adviser: PHC will continue to operate independently and maintain its intermediary and client support services from its Rickmansworth base. Read story

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