Pensions & employee benefits roundup - April 2017

Gareth Davies, 21 April 2017

RedArc Nurses raised an interesting point last month; that an increase in older employees could present employers with a challenge in handling an uplift in age-related illnesses and diseases. RedArc suggested that employers may want to address this issue with their group risk and health providers to ensure policies provide suitable support and cover.

Whilst the country has witnessed an ageing population over the last few years, what we have also seen is an increase in the number of years spent in  bad health. This is not a good thing. Reviewing data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) we can see that males can expect to live roughly 63 years in good health followed by 16 years in bad health; and females can expect to live roughly 64 years in good health followed by 19 years in bad health. Without a significant increase in healthy life expectancy employers may start to witness many of their employees continuing in work just as their health takes a downwards turn.

Whilst a review of group risk and healthcare provision will be important there are other considerations for employers as well… It will be important to ensure that a robust sickness absence policy is in place, as well as catering for a potential increase in employee requests for a more flexible retirement.

RedArc also highlighted that many older employees  will reach retirement age with reduced pension pots; this this will become even more apparent going forwards as fewer retirees will be able to draw from final salary pensions. The new pension freedoms may also see people withdrawing funds before hitting retirement age, leaving a potential shortfall when they do wish to exit the workplace. And this may result in older employees wishing needing to work longer.

A final thought: employers will also need to keep an eye on whether a ‘grey ceiling’ (perceived or actual) has formed, where younger employees no longer feel they have opportunities to progress. Clearly lots to consider…


Throughout the month our research team keep a close eye on what is happening in the pensions and employee benefits industries. Here is a roundup of the best news articles and stories for March 2017.

DWP refrains from 'unleashing monster' NEST into drawdown market
Professional Pensions, 2 March

The government has stepped back from allowing NEST to provide additional and more flexible hybrid decumulation products and entering the decumulation market.

Low-paid parents earn £1.96 an hour after childcare costs
HR Magazine, 2 March

Research from the family and Childcare Trust has found that low-paid full-time workers can spend up to 45% of their disposable income on childcare.

Zero-hours contracts reach record levels
CIPD, 3 March

Analysis of the latest ONS Labour Force Survey figures by the Resolution Foundation found that growth in zero hours contracts has slowed significantly because of negative publicity.

Financial health as important as physical health say workers
Corporate Adviser, 7 March

A Populus survey has found that a majority of UK workers think their financial health is as important as their physical health.

HM Treasury reports £1.7bn windfall as pension flexibilities raising more cash than expected
Professional Pensions, 8 March

The government has said pensions flexibilities have raised £1.7bn more than expected so far as individuals are withdrawing more cash than previously thought.

31% feel their employer is more interested in their physical than financial health
Employee Benefits, 8 March

Research from Wealth Wizards found that 31% of individuals believe their employer takes a greater interest in their physical health than their financial health.

Capita’s review of the Spring Budget
Capita Employee Benefits, 9 March

Our report summarises the main announcements that affect pensions, employee benefits, and personal and company taxation.

How to get your health insurance adviser to do more than simply re-broke your insurance
REBA, 10 March

Alistair Dornan shares his views with REBA on why health consultancy is more than just re-broking.

Sickness absence at lowest rate since records began
CIPD, 10 March

The number of working days lost to sickness absence in the UK has fallen to the lowest level since records began – but analysis of ONS figures suggests an ageing workforce and increasing numbers of part-time employees may reverse this trend in future.

50% believe low resilience levels impact workplace performance
Employee Benefits, 14 March

Half of respondents believe low levels of resilience have a negative impact on workplace performance, according to research by AXA PPP Healthcare.

Alps Electric pension scheme completes £33m buyout with PIC
Pensions Age, 14 March

The trustees of the Alps Electric Pension Scheme have concluded a £33m buyout of its liabilities with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC). The trustees were advised by Capita Employee Benefits

Age-related conditions ‘require a workplace strategy’
Health Insurance, 15 March

An increase in older employees, fuelled by both reduced pension pots and a desire to stay active for longer, will mean employers need to prepare to handle an uplift in age-related illnesses and diseases, according to RedArc Nurses.

Age is biggest barrier to career progression
HR Magazine, 15 March

Research from ADP found that 20% of workers cited their age as their biggest career obstacle. 

Gig economy boosts income for many of its 1.3 million workers – but thousands could be missing out on employment rights
CIPD, 17 March

CIPD research shows 4% of UK working adults aged between 18 and 70 are working in the ‘gig economy’, and nearly two-thirds of them (63%) believe the Government should regulate to guarantee them basic employment rights and benefits such as holiday pay.

80% are prepared to share positive aspects of their work on social media
Employee Benefits, 20 March

80% of respondents are prepared to speak about the positive aspects of their work on social media, according to research by Portland.

Nearly two thirds of UK employees experiencing stress at work, research finds
Recruitment International, 20 March

Nearly two thirds (63%) of UK employees experience stress in their jobs, according to research into workplace happiness by Happiness Works on behalf of Robert Half UK

Only half of employees ‘productive’ at work
Health Insurance, 22 March

Almost half (48%) of employees are not often happy at work and almost one in five are rarely or never happy at work, a poll from Personal Group has found.

Half of families ‘can’t survive a month on savings if ill-health strikes’
Health Insurance, 24 March

45% of UK families with dependent children could only survive financially for less than a month before their savings ran out if the main breadwinner was unable to work due to serious illness or death, research by Aviva has found.

90% of workers who receive a bonus miss out on a government top up
Aviva, 28 March

Research from Aviva has found that UK employees are missing out on a Government top up, in the form of tax relief, because of the choices they are making when paid a bonus by their employer.

Employers ‘have integral role in countering financial exclusion’
Health Insurance, 31 March

Employers have a key role to play in countering financial exclusion among the UK workforce, according to a report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion.

About the author

Gareth Davies Head of Research and Engagement

Gareth Davies

Insight Research

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