At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 16-22 October 2020

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 16-22 October 2020.

At a glance: reward and benefits headlines this week 16-22 October 2020

Millions will need advice or better guidance post-McCloud case – ACA
Corporate Adviser: Advice, modelling tools and effective communications as well as simplification of pension tax rules will be needed to help millions of public sector workers understand what the McCloud age discrimination case means for them, says the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA). Read story

DB to DC focus shift in TPR’s new 15-year strategy
Corporate Adviser: The Pensions Regulator has published a new corporate strategy, setting out its priorities for the next 15 years. Read story

TPR: Just 4% of schemes have agreed DRC deferrals
Professional Pensions: Around one in 25 pension schemes have made use of regulatory easements to deficit recovery contribution (DRC) payment schedules, according to The Pensions Regulator (TPR). Read story

Maps tasked with addressing 'urgent' wellbeing implications of Covid-19
Professional Pensions: Thirteen recommendations for the Money and Pensions Service (Maps) have been laid out in an independent report to address the “urgent” financial wellbeing implications of the coronavirus pandemic on Britons. Read story

Furlough fraud caused by scheme being ‘hastily drawn up’, report finds
People Management: Parliamentary committee chair calls for a list of all companies receiving money through the job retention scheme to be published. Read story

Ocado offers employees regular Covid-19 testing
Employee Benefits: Supermarket delivery service Ocado is offering employees Covid-19 testing during the pandemic. Read story

Graham launches mental wellbeing strategy for 6,500 employees
Employee Benefits: Construction organisation Graham has introduced a wellbeing strategy to support the mental health of its 6,500 employees. Read story

Aviva offers menopause support app to 6,000 employees
Employee Benefits: British insurance organisation Aviva has launched a menopause app, providing its 6,000 UK employees with support if they experience symptoms, either directly or indirectly. Read story

Is remote working ruining employee experience?
HR Grapevine: Various elements of working life have been impacted over the past few months; communication has been halted due to a lack of face-to-face interactions, the onboarding of new recruits has moved to a virtual space and employees have had to get used to working in their own homes alone. Read story

Mentally demanding tasks are harder to handle at home
Workplace Insight: A new study looking at skills in online chess tournaments from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) claims that working from home could be damaging for mentally demanding tasks. Read story

How to develop a workplace wellness program
Employer News: Well-being at work is the key to having motivated, committed and, by extension, productive workforces. Today we will see how to develop a program to promote this work well-being in our company and have happy employees. Read story

No spike in missed employer AE contributions, says Counsell
Pensions Age: There has not been a “significant or unusual spike” in missed pension contributions for automatic enrolment schemes, according to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) chief executive, Charles Counsell. Read story

Millennials buck the trend when it comes to retirement planning
HR News: Retirement planning is something that Millennials and Gen-Zers are taking seriously, says MHA Tait Walker Chartered Financial Planner, Leonard Birnie. Read story

Employee wellbeing to shape future workplaces
HR Magazine: Employee wellbeing and empowerment will be priorities in the future workplace, according to a new report. Read story

MPs criticise “hasty” furlough scheme which allowed fraud
HR Review: The Commons Public Accounts Committee stated that there was “an astonishing lack of economic planning for a pandemic”. Read story

Local covid-19 restrictions negatively affect working parents
HR Review: Last week (12th-16th October 2020), the Government announced tighter lockdown restrictions in the form of the tier systems, owing to rising cases of COVID-19 in the UK. Read story

DWP forces AE schemes to adopt “simplified” annual statement
Corporate Adviser: The pensions industry has welcomed government plans to simplify annual statements for DC schemes. Read story

One in four SMEs ‘concerned’ about staff retention
Corporate Adviser: Almost a quarter of UK small businesses are concerned about their ability to retain employees amid the Covid crisis according to new research. Read story

Doctors’ admin saga rumbles on as compensation issued
Pensions Expert: Doctors are up in arms over a long history of serious pensions admin shortcomings in the lumbering NHS Pension Scheme, some of which are still surfacing. Read story

Mercer signs Race at Work charter to improve ethnic equality
Employee Benefits: Consulting firm Mercer has signed the Race at Work charter, committing to address the issues that employees from ethnic minority groups face in the workplace. Read story

Dunelm to repay government £14.5 million in furlough costs
Employee Benefits: Retail employer Dunelm will pay back in full the money it received as part of the government’s employee furlough scheme as financial support during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

The staff most likely to suffer from lack of workplace motivation
HR Grapevine: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a noticeable impact on employee engagement across workforces. Whether this has been due to growing health and wellbeing concerns or the constraints of working from home, many employees have struggled to feel both connected to their employer and to feel mentally prepared to work. Read story

HRs set for 22 days of overtime as redundancies rise
HR Grapevine: New research from Randstad Risesmart UK has revealed that HR professionals are set to work 22 days’ worth of overtime in the second half of 2020 as redundancy figures increase and workloads skyrocket amid the coronavirus crisis. Read story

Change fatigue among employees has doubled this year
Workplace Insight: The amount of change that the average employee can absorb without suffering fatigue in 2020 has been cut in half compared to 2019, according to Gartner, Inc. Read story

How to achieve work-from-home work-life balance, according to Sodexo Engage
Employer News: This week is National Work-Life Week – an opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on wellbeing and achieving a good work-life balance. But with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis rumbling on, achieving a healthy work-life balance has presented new challenges this year. Read story

Are Employee Incentives A Good Idea?
HR News: As an employer or supervisor, you may wonder if it is a good idea to provide your employees with incentives to increase their motivation when productivity seems to be at a standstill. However, you can’t help but wonder, is it really effective? The answer is: sort of. Read story

Could flexible pay become a new trend now we're working remotely?
HR Magazine: The current recession - brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic - has created increasing financial uncertainty for many people who are now facing an unpredictable job market and pressure on their personal finances. Read story

Global Pension Index reveals Covid impact on UK pensions
Corporate Adviser: Covid-19 is exacerbating retirement insecurity across the globe and is causing sustainability problems for the UK’s pension scheme. Read story

Less gloomy outlook for DB scheme funding: WTW
Corporate Adviser: Just one in six pension schemes report that the Covid crisis has weakened the sponsoring employers ability to standing behind the scheme long term. Read story

Just completes £340m buy-in with Ibstock scheme
Professional Pensions: Just Group has completed a £340m buy-in with the Ibstock Pension Scheme in the insurer’s largest ever bulk annuity transaction. Read story

Punter Southall launches DB scheme consolidator called Stoneport Pensions
Professional Pensions: Punter Southall has launched a defined benefit (DB) scheme consolidator in a bid to allow small schemes to cut their running costs, reduce risk and improve benefit security and governance. Read story

Guy Opperman: Why we are consigning dozen-page pension statements to the dustbin
Professional Pensions: Guy Opperman says two page, simpler statements as well as an annual ‘season’ in which to issue them could be transformative steps for the UK pensions industry. Read story

Employers’ and workforces’ environmental values unaligned, survey finds
People Management: Majority feel their organisation could be doing more on climate change, with two-thirds saying they’d turn down a job to this end. Read story

28% of employees do not understand the benefits available to them
Employee Benefits: Just over a quarter (28%) of employers believe that their employees do not fully understand the benefits that are available to them, according to research by industry body Grid. Read story

Tesco employees appeal Employment Tribunal equal pay decision
Employee Benefits: Employees at supermarket chain Tesco plan to appeal a decision made by the Employment Tribunal which states that a job evaluation study is unreliable. Read story

Target rewards 350,000 front-line employees with $200 bonus
Employee Benefits: US retailer Target has given 350,000 front-line employees a $200 (£155) bonus to thank them for their continuous hard work during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

How to support staff going through baby loss
HR Grapevine: Bereavement is not an issue that is widely discussed in the workplace; colleagues fear discussing the matter could cause upset, while some line managers may not have been equipped with the necessary skills to provide support. Read story

What will influence future employee benefits design?
Employer News: Recent research revealed the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on UK SME business performance is immense, with 80% experiencing a decline in revenue. Read story

Govt seeks to overturn Pension Schemes Bill amendment defeats
Pensions Age: The government is seeking to overturn the four Pension Schemes Bill amendment votes it lost in the House of Lords in the summer by removing them from the bill. Read story

UK drops one place to 15th in Mercer’s Global Pension Index
Pensions Age: The UK’s pension system fell one place to rank 15th in the Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index with an overall score of 64.9. Read story

Outdoor learning experiences aren’t just for kids – they’re great for the workplace too
HR News: Managers need to encourage their staff find their inner child to help take their businesses to the next level. Read story

Salary expectations gap between men and women has doubled
HR Review: New research shows that men expect annual salaries of £41,615, on average, whilst women’s expectations of annual salaries were much lower at £31,066. The difference between salary expectations of men and women has doubled since 2018. Read story

MP presents bill for businesses to publish gender pay gap data
HR Review: Yesterday (20th October), a Labour MP presented a bill in Parliament that would mean businesses with 100 or more employees would be required to release their gender pay gap data. Read story

TPR gives green light to superfund transfers
Corporate Adviser: The Pensions Regulator has published new guidance for DB schemes considering consolidation into a new superfund. Read story

State pension to increase at five times the rate of inflation
Corporate Adviser: Pensioners will see their state pension rise at five times the current rate of inflation next April, as the triple lock kicks into effect. Read story

Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen gain living hours accreditation
Employee Benefits: British insurer Aviva and global investment organisation Standard Life Aberdeen have become living hours organisations, accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. Read story

European Tyre Enterprises gives 7,000 employees early access to pay
Employee Benefits: Care services retailer, European Tyre Enterprises (ETEL) has given its 7,000 employees the chance to access their pay early, as well as offering wellbeing tools to help employees avoid financial stress. Read story

Future of work has arrived sooner than expected, WEF report claims
Workplace Insight: The Future of Jobs 2020 report from the World Economic Forum claims that COVID-19 has caused the labour market to change faster than expected. Read story

86.4% of UK&I businesses prioritise employee empowerment in their future workplace strategy
Employer News: Almost four-fifths (77.6%) of UK&I-based organisations agree that home-working during the pandemic has been challenging for employees. Read story

TPR outlines 'gateway principles' for DB superfund transactions in new guidance
Pensions Age: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has outlined a series of 'gateway principles' in new guidance for trustees and sponsoring employers of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes considering a transfer to a superfund. Read story

Three-quarters of CEOs believe HR Analytics are essential to decision-making
HR Review: New research by SD Worx, a payroll and HR services provider, has shown the importance of people analytics within organisations. Read story

Next hit with equal pay claims and accused of destroying “vital documents”
HR Review: The British multinational clothes company, Next, has been taken to court by its employees after claims that the company did not pay its workers equal wages. Read story

Lifetime allowance to rise to £1.078m in line with 0.5% inflation
Professional Pensions: The lifetime allowance is set to rise to £1,078,900 from April next year in line with the 0.5% inflation figure. Read story

Schemes must meet three gateway principles for superfund transfers
Professional Pensions: Pension scheme trustees and sponsors should only seek to transfer members’ benefits to a defined benefit (DB) consolidator if there is no “realistic prospect of buyout in the foreseeable future”, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) says. Read story

The government’s three-tier system: how five employers are responding
People Management: People Management spoke to HR leaders in ‘high’ and ‘very high’ alert areas to find out whether this has affected their approach to home working and staff safety. Read story

Morgan Sindall Construction becomes accredited living wage employer
Employee Benefits: UK infrastructure organisation Morgan Sindall Construction has become a real living wage employer, accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. Read story

Mitie reports reports 10.4% mean gender pay gap
Employee Benefits: Mitie has reported a mean gender pay gap of 10.4% for average hourly pay as at April 2019, down from 13.8% the previous year. Read story

UBS rewards 25,000 employees with £30 million bonus pot
Employee Benefits: Investment bank group UBS is rewarding 25,000 junior employees globally with a bonus to thank them for their hard work during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read story

Everybody needs to be prepared for a new digital workplace
Workplace Insight: Graduates today are largely considered to be the ‘net generation’. Growing up whilst social media accelerated, their years in higher education have been synonymous with digital literacy, even before COVID-19 turned their studies entirely virtual. Read story

Proportion of pension schemes increasing recovery plan lengths falls to 32% in 2019
Pensions Age: A third (32 per cent) of schemes increased the length of their recovery plans in 2019, compared to half (50 per cent) of schemes in 2018, according to analysis by Hymans Robertson. Read story

Old British Steel Pension Scheme secures £2bn buy-in with PIC
Pensions Age: The Old British Steel Pension Scheme (OBSPS) has secured a £2bn buy-in with the Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), guaranteeing future payments for all members at or above Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levels. Read story

Conservative London mayoral candidate pledges to cut employers’ TfL pension scheme contributions
Pensions Age: London mayoral candidate for the Conservative Party, Shaun Bailey, has promised to cut the employer contribution rate to the Transport for London (TfL) pension scheme from 31 per cent to 13 per cent if elected. Read story

The Hidden Role Internal Communications Plays in Employee Experience
HR News: As you’ve scrambled to respond to the pandemic at your organisation, have you given much thought as to what the employee experience has been? And whether or not it’s improved, remained the same, or actually worsened? Read story

Mandatory gender pay gap reporting needs extending, say MPs
HR Magazine: A group of MPs have called for mandatory gender pay gap reporting to be widened to include businesses with 100 employees or more. Read story

Government pressed to consider coronavirus’ long-term impact on employee health
HR Magazine: More research into the coronavirus pandemic’s long-term impact on employees' health and career development is needed, according to The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA). Read story

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