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 29 May-4 June 2015.

War of words: Struggle over pension risk warnings as regulators clash
Money Marketing: The Pensions Regulator insists it is right to tell trustees to give “generic” warnings to consumers, rather than the tailored warnings expected by the FCA. Read story

Three million people unable to work due to back pain
HR magazine: Up to three million people are estimated to be on long-term sick leave or unable to work because of back pain, according to research by Nuffield Health. Read story

Ovo revamps flexible benefits scheme
Employee Benefits: Ovo has revamped its flexible benefits scheme for its 700 employees, in order to reflect its values and reward philosophy. Read story

A standing ovation for staff wellbeing at Virgin Media
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Owain Thomas explains why Virgin Media’s move towards sit-stand desks is long overdue. Read story

Automatic enrolment: development of Declaration of Compliance
CIPP: The Pensions Regulator is considering developing an Applications Programme Interface (API) for the Declaration of Compliance (DoC) and are keen to gauge market interest in the idea. Read story

Amendments to 2014-15 P11D and P11D guide
CIPP: HMRCs Software Developers Support Team has provided details on the recent amendments to the 2014-15 P11D and P11D Guide. Read story

Free childcare to double to 30 hours per week by 2016
HR magazine: The amount of free childcare working parents will receive is to double to 30 hours per week by September 2016, the prime minister is expected to announce. Read story

Coalition added just 30 staff to increase NMW enforcement
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The coalition government added fewer than 30 staff to increase monitoring of the national minimum wage (NMW) during its first four years. Read story

Tata workers vote to strike in pension scheme closure dispute
Workplace Savings & Benefits: Workers from three unions at Tata Steel have voted to strike over the company’s proposal to close the British Steel pension scheme (BSPS). Read story

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

76% of employers unaware of Fit for Work service
Employee Benefits: More than three-quarters (76%) of employers are unaware of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Fit for Work service, according to research by YouGov and medical insurance provider Cigna. Read story

WPP Sir Martin Sorrell under scrutiny over £43million pay package
HR Grapevine: Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, has come under fire once again after his £43 million pay package angered shareholders and leading proxy advisory groups. Read story

Vodafone supports employee demand for flexible working
Employee Benefits: Vodafone supports employees’ increasing demand for flexible working by enabling staff, regardless of grade, to work in a location of their choice as part of its ‘Better ways of working’ initiative. Read story

What are an employer's responsibilities around mental health?
HR magazine: Mental health has been gaining coverage in the news, with high profile events such as the crash of the Germanwings plane causing people to ask what the responsibilities of an employer actually are when it comes to employees with mental health issues. Read story

National Minimum Wage penalty to be calculated per worker
CIPP: The first commencement order made under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 has been published and brings into effect the maximum penalty of £20,000 which can now be calculated on a per worker basis rather than on a per employer notice basis. Read story

Pension managers confident about governance systems
Pay & Benefits: Pension managers are very confident about their management and compliance processes, according to a survey. Read story

Sports Direct staff to share bonus worth £34 million
Employee Benefits: More than 3,000 of the retail giant’s 28,500 employees will benefit from the organisation’s performance targets being met since 2011. Read story

Redundancy near pensionable age could be age discrimination
Employee Benefits: In the case of Sturmey v Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, it is being considered whether a genuine redundancy dismissal can amount to age discrimination due to its timing. Read story

Morrisons face shareholder revolt over “out of line” ex-CEO bonus
HR Grapevine: Supermarket chain Morrisons could face a shareholder revolt over the £1million bonus awarded to former CEO, Dalton Philips. Read story

US Court case highlights need for vigilance in investment selection, monitoring
Employee Benefits Adviser: The Supreme Court’s decision in Tibble v. Edison International, while not necessarily game-changing for 401(k) plan sponsors, does put the burden of obligation on plan fiduciaries to continually monitor investments in their employer-sponsored retirement plans. Read story

Why trustees should prepare for a shock to the system
Pensions Expert: Second-guessing the market is a mug's game, says Jupiter's James Clunie, nevertheless pension fund investors should prepare for the worst. Read story

Annual funding statement for DB schemes
CIPP: The Pensions Regulator has published their 2015 annual funding statement for Defined Benefit (DB) schemes and also important guidance on managing requests for transfers to Defined Contribution (DC) schemes. Read story

PAYE for employees working abroad and coming to work in the UK from abroad
CIPP: HMRC has published guidance to assist with the differences in PAYE calculations and deductions for employees who come to work in the UK and also for employees working abroad. Read story

Disney, Swarovski and Paramount staff to take part in summer wellbeing events
Employee Benefits: Over 8,000 employees from 50 organisations at Chiswick Park, London, are taking part in a number of health and wellbeing events this summer. Read story

Aberdeen Asset Management improves financial education for its own staff
Employee Benefits: It is running a number of financial education seminars for its 2,000 employees. Read story

Just 36% of staff are highly engaged
Employee Benefits: Just over a third (36%) of UK staff are highly engaged at work, according to a study from Red Letter Days for Business. Read story

Retirees shunning pension freedoms cash
Workplace Savings & Benefits: The dash for cash for retirees utilising the pension freedoms has cooled, according to research from two different sources: Fidelity Worldwide Investments and Scottish Widows. Read story

One-third of underperforming managers still receive bonuses
Personnel Today: Companies are routinely giving bonuses to underperforming managers, according to the latest pay data from XpertHR and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Read story

NHS agency staff to have pay capped
Personnel Today: The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has ordered a clampdown on recruitment agencies supplying the NHS with doctors and nurses as a package of measures to reduce costs. Read story

in US in-plan annuity options grow as MetLife introduces longevity product
Employee Benefits Adviser: A recent survey by LIMRA based on eight large insurance carriers found a 32% jump last year in the number of plan participants with access to an in-plan guarantee product. Read story

Hairdressers take firm hold of auto-enrolment with own mastertrust
Pensions Expert: The National Hairdressers' Federation has created a mastertrust to help its employer members with auto-enrolment, but experts have questioned the ability of smaller trusts to achieve adequate scale. Read story

Tata Steel pensions wrangle rolls on as ballot favours strike action
Pensions Expert: Tata Steel workers turned out en masse to vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action following a breakdown in negotiations on the planned closure of the British Steel Pension Scheme. Read story

McDonald's Restaurants puts motivation and reward at heart of business strategy
Employee Benefits: McDonald’s Restaurants is one employer that has successfully implemented schemes to make its employees feel motivated and engaged, not only with the organisation but also with its reward and benefits provision. Read story

Friends Life unable to offer pension freedoms
Money Marketing: Friends Life is unable to offer its customers access to pension freedoms, either through drawdown or partial withdrawals, after failing to adapt its antiquated systems. Read story

Govt spends over £400k on Pension Wise marketing consultants
Money Marketing: Contracts seen by Money Marketing show £378,542 was paid to DLKW Lowe Ltd to “develop a range of creative advertising ideas”. Read story

Register your share schemes to avoid penalties
CIPP: Many small employers may be unaware that by 6 July 2015 they need to register all employee share schemes with HMRC and file online returns. It is important that employers and their agents take action as early as possible to ensure that everything is in place in good time before the deadline. Read story

Thomson Reuters overhauls default and opts for in-scheme drawdown
Professional Pensions: Thomson Reuters is overhauling its DC default offering and is set to offer in-scheme drawdown following the introduction of pension freedoms. Read story

Generation Y ‘face £6trn tab’ after decades of govt over-spending
Retirement Planner: Analysis by the Centre for Policy Studies accused baby-boomers of making unfunded promises on pensions and benefits and then leaving their children to pick up the bill. Read story

Holiday buy and sell receive highest take up in flex
Employee Benefits: Holiday buy and sell, critical illness cover and travel insurance are among the benefits with the highest take up in flexible benefits, according to research by benefits consultancy and technology provider Vebnet. Read story

WB Power Services implements new eyecare benefit
Employee Benefits: The supplier of temporary and back-up power solutions already provides safety eyewear for its engineers, and will be offering optical care e-vouchers as an additional extra. Read story

70% of expats do not understand pension freedoms
Employee Benefits: Almost three-quarters (70%) of British expats do not understand the new pension flexibilities, according to research by financial advice firm AES International. Read story

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