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08 Jun 2018
by Rebecca Patton

At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 1-7 June 2018

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 1-7 June.


Fiduciary management standard wins support of third-party evaluators
Professional Pensions: The newly-launched Fiduciary Management Performance Standard has gained support from the biggest providers of independent evaluation services to pension funds. Read story

Southampton Uni to close non-academic staff DB scheme to new members
Professional Pensions: The University of Southampton has confirmed plans to close the Pension and Assurance Scheme for Non-Academic Staff (PASNAS) to new members at the end of December. Read story

DB deficit sticks at £200bn despite growth in assets
Professional Pensions: Defined benefit (DB) schemes had an aggregate deficit of £200bn on a gilts plus measure at the end of May, according to PwC. Read story

Over 30% of employees have ‘minor dread’ on Sunday nights
Incentive and Motivation: A new study has shown that 51% of employees are neutral on Sunday nights to the idea of work, but a huge 34% are experiencing minor dread, and when asked if they would go back in time and work the same career again, 60% say they wouldn’t. Read story

Most employers back idea for stable contract requests
Personnel Today: Two-thirds of employers back the introduction of a right for agency workers and zero-hours contract workers to request a stable contract. Read story

Walmart introduces tuition benefit for US staff
Employee Benefits: Retail organisation Walmart has launched a new tuition benefit for all US employees and eligible employee family members. Read story

Octopus Group sees 15% take-up of financial coaching benefit
Employee Benefits: Investment organisation Octopus Group has seen 15% of its 700 UK employees take up a financial coaching benefit in the first four weeks since it launched in March 2018. Read story

Shop Direct completes £880m pensioner buy-in
Employee Benefits: Retailer Shop Direct has completed an £880 million pensioner buy-in transaction for the Littlewoods Pensions Scheme. Read story

79% state their employer does not provide bereavement support
Employee Benefits: More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents state that their employer does not offer or provide any internal or external bereavement support upon the return to work following the death of a baby, according to research by stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands. Read story

Generational pay gap widens as union membership drops
HR Magazine: The pay gap between young and older workers has increased by more than half in the last 20 years, according to a report by the TUC. Read story

MPs warn FCA must publish guidance on financial risk of climate change
Professional Pensions: A parliamentary inquiry has found "worrying disparity" between The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) and Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) pension scheme guidance when it comes to considering environmental risk as a financial factor. Read story

18 million people now saving into workplace pensions
Professional Pensions: The number of people saving into a workplace pension has hit an all-time high, with 17.7 million people actively participating last year, latest government data shows. Read story

Johnston Press 'seeks RAA' amid company restructure
Professional Pensions: Publishing house Johnston Press is seeking a regulated apportionment agreement (RAA) to detach its pension scheme ahead of a company-wide restructure, according to reports. Read story

FTSE350 pensions deficit shrinks to £34bn
Corporate Adviser: Rising asset prices and falling liabilities have wiped away four fifths of the FTSE350’s pension gap in under two years, with £16bn wiped off the deficit in May alone, according to new figures from Mercer. Read story

Amazon workers fight 'most high-profile gig economy case’
HR Magazine: The case could make other companies think carefully about their treatment of self-employed workers. Read story

Generational pay gap is creating a 'lost' cohort of younger workers
HR Grapevine: The pay gap between younger and older workers has increased by 50% in the last 20 years, according to a new TUC report. Read story

Gender pay gap: PwC bans male-only candidate shortlists
Personnel Today: Accountancy giant PwC will no longer allow shortlists of candidates for any jobs in the UK that consist only of men as it attempts to close its gender pay gap, the worst among the big four for mean hourly pay. Read story

Pret’s £1,000 employee bonus: Do short-term rewards achieve anything?
Personnel Today: The new owners of sandwich chain Pret A Manger have promised a £1,000 bonus to all employees who are on the payroll when the deal completes. But does a one-off cash bonus actually foster engagement, asks Ian MacRae? Read story

Genetic counsellor ranks as best job of 2018
Employee Benefits: Being a genetic counsellor has ranked as the best job of 2018, with a median salary of $74,120 (£55,340.96), very low levels of stress and a very good work environment, according to research by careers website careercast.com. Read story

13% of HR managers believe their organisation has an effective wellbeing strategy
Employee Benefits: More than one in 10 (13%) of HR and business manager respondents believe their organisation has an effective wellbeing strategy in place, according to research by HR and payroll software organisation Cascade HR. Read story

TPR needs 'super trustees' to aid struggling schemes
Professional Pensions: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) could benefit from having a pool of "super trustees" that can be parachuted into schemes to fix problems when they arise, experts say. Read story

Over half of charity DB schemes now closed to future accrual
Professional Pensions: Some 58% of UK charities have closed their defined benefit (DB) schemes to future accrual, Hymans Robertson research reveals. Read story

One in five under 30s saving nothing for retirement – Widows
Corporate Adviser: The number of under 30s saving enough for retirement has risen sharply by 9 per cent, but one in five are still saving nothing at all for their retirement, according to figures from Scottish Widows. Read story 

New code to curb university bosses' pay deemed inadequate by unions
HR Magazine: Vice chancellors' pay continues to be a subject of controversy at UK universities.

So… can employers enhance maternity pay but not shared parental pay?
Personnel Today: Recent tribunal decisions have provided some guidance on the legalities of offering enhanced maternity but not enhanced shared parental pay. But that does not mean employers avoid the risk of discrimination completely. Elizabeth Marshall and George Fellows explain. Read story

UK workers 'want dental insurance more than gym discount' - Unum Dental
Cover: Employee benefits demand reflects 5% hike in NHS dental costs within a year. Read story

American Classic Construction ordered to pay $310,000 for incorrectly classifying employees
Employee Benefits: The US Department of Labor has ordered roofing and siding contracting organisation American Classic Construction to pay $310,000 (£231,926.50) for incorrectly classifying its staff as independent contractors and failing to pay 74 employees the right rate of pay for overtime. Read story

Outsourced workers continue industrial action against University of London
Employee Benefits: Following a two-day strike on the 25 and 26 April 2018, outsourced workers from the University of London are taking further industrial action today (6 June 2018), in an ongoing fight to end outsourcing and zero-hour contracts. Read story

Government publishes two-year action plan to support carers
Employee Benefits: The Department of Health and Social Care has published a two-year, cross-government action plan on how to improve the available support for carers in England, including the consideration of dedicated employment rights specifically for carers. Read story

House of Fraser scheme 'kingmaker' in restructuring approval
Professional Pensions: House of Fraser's defined benefit (DB) scheme has not been automatically placed into Pension Protection Fund (PPF) assessment despite restructuring plans, PP can confirm. Read story

USS and BTPS to pay Thames Water leakage penalty
Professional Pensions: Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) will be asked to pick up the tab for some of the £120m penalty levied on Thames Water. Read story

The rocky road to master trust consolidation
Corporate Adviser: Providers are positioning themselves for a spree as regulation flushes single and master trust schemes out into the open. John Lappin assesses how the anticipated consolidation could pan out. Read story 

Nudge theory and wellbeing
HR Magazine: Employers are footing the bill for wellness schemes and not getting the benefits so something needs to change. Read story

Time running out for DWP to book 2019 bills, Webb warns
Pensions Expert: The Department for Work and Pensions is at risk of running out of time to pass key aspects of its pensions policy agenda in 2019 due to the impact of Brexit and several measures yet to even reach a consultation stage, according to former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb. Read story

New bill could force large companies to divulge parental leave policies
People Management: Reporting would tackle widespread pregnancy discrimination, says MP. Read story

Businesses must rein in executive pay, parliament told
People Management: CIPD says reward has become detached from economic reality, as committee jousts over CEO’s £45m bonus. Read story

Government scheme to promote flexible working for carers
Health Insurance Daily: One in 10 UK adults provide unpaid care for a family member or friend. Read story

The CIPD, Dundee City Council and Scotland Excel recognised for promoting the living wage
Employee Benefits: The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), Dundee City Council (pictured) and non-profit organisation Scotland Excel are among those recognised at the Living Wage Champion Awards 2018, held by The Living Wage Foundation. Read story

Employees saved £90.3bn into workplace pensions in 2017
Employee Benefits: Eligible employees saved a total of £90.3 billion into workplace pensions in 2017, an increase of £4.3 billion on the total amount saved in 2016, according to research by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Read story

Transport for London and Apple recognised for best work-life balance
Employee Benefits: Local government body Transport for London and technology organisation Apple are among the organisations that have been recognised for having the best work-life balance. Read story