Employment and Pensions Law (12 - 26 March)

Employment News

Gender pay gap soars after City giant breaks ranks to include partners

The Law Society Gazette – 23 March

Norton Rose Fulbright has released its gender pay gap figures, and is the first big City firm to include its partners. When the partners are included, the pay gap rises from 17% to 49%. Although it is not required by the government to release the pay gap of partners, Norton Rose Fulbright has claimed they want to be ‘open and transparent’.

NHS Employers offers staff three-year pay deal

Employee Benefits – 22 March

A pay proposal, put forward by NHS Employers and health trade unions, has come to fruition, leading to more than one million NHS employees receiving a three-year pay increase of between 6.5% and 29%. The proposals increase the minimum wage for NHS staff to £8.93 per hour. The trade unions will consult with their members on the proposals.

Government increases funding for disabled people in the workplace

People Management – 21 March

The government has raised the cap on funding by £15,000 for the Access to Work scheme, a programme that supports disabled people in the workplace. Access to Work provides grants and personalised support to disabled people who are employed and self-employed. However, experts have criticised the government for the lack of awareness about the scheme amongst employers.

Shared Parental Leave - Still not quite shared

Lexology – 19 March

RadcliffesLeBrasseur discusses the case of Ali v Capita Customer Management Limited (Capita) in relation to the government
initiative of Shared Parental Leave. According to figures by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, only 2% of couples have applied to use the scheme and the government has launched a campaign to increase awareness of it.

Pensions News

3.5 million pensioners face poverty if triple lock scrapped – report

Professional Adviser – 21 March

According to a report conducted by the Pensions Policy Institute, 700,000 additional pensioners could be facing poverty in 2050 if the
triple lock for the state pension is scrapped. The triple lock currently guarantees that basic state pensions will rise annually – the minimum rise is 2.5%. As reported by the Professional Adviser, low earners would have to contribute an extra £540 per year if the triple lock was scrapped.

Pension fines could be applied retrospectively

FT Adviser – 21 March

Esther McVey, the secretary of state for pensions, has announced that the defined benefit white paper includes penalties that could be
applied retrospectively. McVey did not specify which fines would be applied to previous occurrences, but new legislation includes introducing new punitive fines and increasing watchdog powers.

Should you give up pension perks for an 80% bonus? Why Royal London is offering retirees a sweetener if they forgo generous yearly income

This Money – 21 March

Royal London are offering 33,000 of their customers who currently have guaranteed annuity rates a bonus in exchange for opting out of their annual guaranty. In doing this, Money Mail, has stated that pensioners could lose up to £100,000 over a 20-year retirement.

Mismanagement of pension funds by reckless bosses ‘to become criminal offence’

People Management – 20 March

The Defined Benefit Pension Schemes white paper, published 19 March, has announced that ‘wilful or reckless behaviour in the handling of company pension funds’ may become a criminal offence, punishable of up to two years in prison. The paper also supports building on current processes to disqualify company directors.

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