Pensions & employee benefits roundup - May 2018

Katri Tuomainen, 21 May 2018

New research has found further support for the  relationship between physical activity and mental health, showing that physical activity is correlated with a lower risk of depression in the future and highlighting the connection between the physical and mental aspects of well-being. 

Researchers from Kings College London analysed 49 international studies and found that people with high levels of physical activity had lower odds of developing depression in the future, compared to those with lower levels of physical activity.

This protective effect was present across age, in youths, adults and the elderly and also across geographical regions (in Europe, North America and Oceania) and was present also when other important factors such as BMI, smoking and physical health conditions were taken into account. As one author notes, these results strengthen the case for promoting physical activity across schools, workplaces and elsewhere.  

Physical activity and the possibilities it has in preventing poor mental health is important, as poor mental health can be costly. According to research from the ONS, 15.8 million workdays were lost due to mental health related sickness absence in 2016, and accounted for 11.5% of the workdays lost while research from Deloitte estimated that £8bn is lost due to mental health related absence and the total cost of poor mental health to UK employers £33bn-£42bn.

As discussed in our HRD’s Guide to Workplace Wellness, a good workplace wellness program addresses workplace wellness as a holistic issues, rather than focusing on physical or mental health as separate issues, in order to create an efficient wellbeing program that best supports employees.


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 April 2018.

Default pension pathway and single, public pensions dashboard needed
Commons Select Committee, 5 April

In the final report of its inquiry into pension freedom and choice, the Work and Pensions Committee calls for a simple package of measures to create better informed, more engaged pensions savers – and offer a default decumulation pathway to protect the less engaged.

I’m still in: Four in five pension savers will continue to save when auto enrolment contributions rise
NOW:Pensions, 6 April

Four in five (84%) auto enrolled savers say they will embrace the increase and continue to save once contributions rise to 5% of qualifying earnings according to research conducted by NOW: Pensions.

Employee mental health and wellbeing schemes an ‘essential differentiator’ for UK businesses
Deloitte, 16 April

As many as 88 per cent of business and HR leaders in the UK are working towards improving employee wellbeing, such as by offering wellness and work-life balance programmes in the workplace, compared with a global average of 82 per cent.

Individuals underestimate their chances of survival through their 50s, 60s and 70s, potentially hindering their ability to plan their retirement
Institute for Fiscal Studies, 16 April

As individuals are given more control over saving for retirement and use of pension wealth, their ability to plan for the future is increasingly important.

Employers could do more to help the wellbeing of their employees
Westfield Health, 17 April

86% believe firms are not doing enough to help them deal with work-related mental health issues.

Engaging in physical activity decreases people's chance of developing depression
King's College London, 25 April 

An international team including researchers from King’s College London have found physical activity can protect against the emergence of depression, regardless of age and geographical region.

Pensions minister holds hope for new guidance body by winter
Money Marketing, 26 April 

Pensions minister Guy Opperman is hoping the single financial guidance body will be established by winter.

The early retirement dream lives on but at what cost?
Prudential, 27 April 2018

Nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of those stopping work this year are quitting before their expected state pension age or company pension retirement date but retiring early can mean facing a £3,400 hit on their annual retirement income.

About the author

Katri Tuomainen Research and Engagement Executive

Katri Tuomainen

Insight Research

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