Pensions & employee benefits roundup - June 2017

Gareth Davies, 01 June 2017

Presenteeism is the act of going to work whilst unwell and latest research from Aviva  has helped to shine a light on just how big a problem this is. Aviva found that 69% of UK private sector employees say they have gone to work unwell when they should have taken the day off.

These results are very similar to our findings from last year  where we found that 63% of UK employees said that the last time they were ill they came into work anyway. Whilst our research didn’t identify any statistically significant differences between employees in the private and public sectors, there were noticeable differences based on age and gender, where females and those aged 25-54 were more likely to still go into work.

Aviva states that “having employees who are unwell at work is a false economy”. If workers are coming into work whilst still ill they are likely to be less productive, with the potential to make mistakes or even pass on contagious illnesses to colleagues. Our research found that 70% of employees said they felt less productive if they came into work whilst ill.

Presenteeism can also be influenced by other factors, such as perception as well as workload. Our research found that 49% of employees would rather come into work whilst under the weather than have work build up in their absence. In addition, 51% of employees said they were worried they would be judged badly by colleagues if they took too much time off sick.

Tackling employee absence and presenteeism should come together as one and can be a win-win for both employees and their employer, and both can benefit from a cultural change, not just a reporting upgrade.


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 May 2017.

Over three quarters of employees seek financial education on issues including retirement planning
Pensions Age, 2 May 

Over three quarters, 76 per cent, of employees claim that improved financial education would significantly help with important life-issues such as planning for retirement, Capita Employee Benefits has found.

Slowed longevity improvements could wipe £310bn off total pension deficit
Professional Pensions, 4 May

Schemes could see huge reductions in their liabilities on a funding basis if the recent slowdown in life expectancy improvements becomes a long-term trend, according to PwC.

37% of employee assistance programme calls relate to anxiety and depression
Employee Benefits, 5 May

Just over a third (37%) of calls to an employee assistance programme (EAP) relate to employee anxiety and depression, according to research by employee wellbeing organisation Lifeworks.

Pet dogs are the new must-have accessory at the smarter office
The Guardian, 6 May

Companies are using animal magnetism to reduce stress in the workplace and hang on to staff. After a half-hour walk to work each morning, Joy likes to grab a drink and head to her desk … where she promptly curls up underneath it and has a nap.

The case for protecting mental health at work has never been stronger
Huffington Post, 8 May

People used to think that mental health problems were out of the ordinary, something that happened to others. Times are changing. One in six of us will experience a mental health problem in any given week, and research launched just this week suggests that a majority of Britons have experienced some kind of mental health problem, with young adults especially open about this when surveyed. 

39% believe the Lifetime Isa will cause confusion among staff
Employee Benefits, 9 May

Over a third (39%) of employer respondents believe the introduction of the Lifetime individual savings account (Lisa) will cause confusion for employees looking to save, according to research by Close Brothers Asset Management.

Employers say staff should be responsible for financial education
HR Magazine, 9 May

Employers increasingly believe that employees should be responsible for their own financial education, according to research from financial adviser Chase de Vere. 

How to educate the workforce on the importance of financial wellness
REBA, 10 May

Alex Tullett, Head of Benefits Strategy shares his views with REBA on how to educate the workforce on the importance of financial wellness.

Three in ten believe employers should be able to renegotiate DB benefits
Professional Pensions, 11 May

Almost a third (30%) of pension professionals support employers having more power to renegotiate benefits or reduce accrued rights, research from the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has shown.

FROM THE USA: Maternity concierges let you focus on your job while they prepare for baby
NBC News, 11 May

With women holding only 24 percent of senior management roles in the U.S., companies are searching for new ways to attract — and retain — female talent.  

36% expect to work past the age of 65 due to insufficient pension savings
Employee Benefits, 11 May

More than a third (36%) of respondents expect to work past the age of 65 because their pension savings will not be sufficient to allow them to afford to retire, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.

82% offer benefits to retain employees
Employee Benefits, 15 May

More than three-quarters (82%) of employer respondents offer benefits because they are an effective retention tool, according to research by Employee Benefits and Staffcare.

Tata Steel offers to pump £550m into closed pension fund
BBC, 16 May

Tata Steel UK has offered to pay £550m into its now-closed pension scheme and give the fund a 33% stake in its UK business.

Nearly half of UK workers say bosses put performance ahead of health
CIPD, 16 May

Research from Aviva has found that employees are three times more likely to go to work unwell than ‘pull a sickie’. Employees are three times more likely to go to work unwell than ‘pull a sickie’; experts warn presenteeism is a false economy.

ABI moves Pensions Dashboard into 'interim' phase
Professional Adviser, 17 May

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is to establish an "interim phase" of the pensions dashboard after successfully developing a prototype.

Half of UK workers borrowing to meet day-to-day bills
Corporate Adviser, 17 May

Almost half of UK workers are borrowing to meet day-to-day financial needs and a quarter have monthly income fluctuations of more than 10 per cent, a report by Neyber has found.

Want to scale up quickly and efficiently? Try flexible working
The Telegraph, 18 May

Scale-ups can reap huge benefits from the agility and cost efficiency of flexible working, but it requires careful organisation and transparency. More than eight out of 10 employers and employees think that flexible working improves productivity, claimed a recent survey by Vodafone of 8,000 global businesses and staff members.

Working from home can be a pain in the neck
Bupa, 19 May

People who work from home are more likely to suffer from work-related injuries such as neck and back problems, according to new research from Bupa.

Auto-enrolment admin a bigger challenge than cost
Corporate Adviser, 22 May

Administration is a bigger challenge to firms implementing auto-enrolment than the cost of contributing to their employees’ pensions, according to research by Chase de Vere and Lightbulb.

More people are shunning nine-to-five jobs in favour of flexible working
East Anglian Daily News, 23 May

The nine-to-five is becoming old hat as record numbers of people turn to more flexible and independent ways of working, a study has found. The trend has led to more women working as well as increased self-employment for its work-life benefits, according to the report by online marketplace not-on-the-high-street and Oxford Economics.

Retirees worry they will outlive their pension pots
Professional Pensions, 24 May

A quarter of retirees do not believe they have a large enough nest egg to fund their retirement, research From Sun Life has revealed.

NHS faces staggering increase in cost of elderly care, academics warn
The Guardian, 24 May

2.8 million people over 65 will need nursing and social care by 2025 – largely because of a significant rise in dementia-related disability, research from Lancet finds.

More than half of time-pressed Britons walk just a mile or less a day potentially raising their risk of cancer
Daily Mail, 25 May

More than half of UK adults walk just a mile or less a day on an average weekday, according to new research. Being overweight or obese is the single biggest cause of preventable cancer in the UK after smoking, Cancer Research UK said.

Almost 900,000 people in Britain are too fat to work, Dame Carol Black has warned
Metro, 30 May

Professor Dame Carol Black says that 880,000 people in Britain can’t work due to their weight. The official figure of people who claim sickness is just 160,000 – but that underestimates the problem, Dame Carol said.

Nine in 10 businesses ‘struggle to communicate benefits’
Health Insurance Daily, 31 May

Nine in 10 HR leaders face challenges when communicating their benefits package to employees, a survey by Mybenefitsatwork suggests.

How will firms cope with pensions vs pay rise dilemma?
Money Marketing, 31 May

Aviva’s John Lawson comments on whether an increase to auto-enrolment contribution levels will impact on opt-out rates.

Over 55s three times more likely to opt out of auto-enrolment
Pensions Age, 31 May

Over 55s are three times more likely to opt out of auto enrolment pensions than their younger counterparts, NOW: Pensions has reported.

About the author

Gareth Davies Head of Research and Engagement

Gareth Davies

Insight Research

Our research reports are aimed at Pension Trustees and HR Directors, covering topics such as pensions, health, flexible benefits, engagement and wellness. They are free to download!

Find out more

Contact round up team

If you would like to get in touch about any of the topics covered in this roundup, you can contact our team directly.

Get in touch