Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are more concerned about employee engagement and discipline than they are about the impending upheaval posed by the agency workers regulations (AWR).
According to new research from Citation, an employment law specialist, parental leave and sickness are also more pressing an issue than the new rules, which will offer equal rights to temporary workers and contractors.
Andrea O’Hare, head of personnel and employment law at Citation, said that the key to maintaining employee engagement is to remain in contact with workers even when they are off work with an illness.
“We advise clients to establish and maintain regular contact with employees who are sick as regular open dialogue between employer and employees enables employers to closely manage … absence issues,” she claimed.
Recently, XpertHR claimed that flexible benefits require a shift in management style – particularly if they incorporate home working.
The cost of school meals is what puts most working parents off letting their children try them.
According to the School Food Trust, 58 per cent of parents – including those who benefit from flexible workplace benefits like childcare vouchers – would adopt school meals if they were offered them at a reduced price.
Under existing rules, schools have to charge the same price to every child – regardless of their family’s financial circumstances.
Schools must apply for permission to alter pricing through the Department for Education.
However, ministers are planning to change these rules in the Education Bill so that pricing can be varied.
The move would help workers at the lower end of the pay scale, who may already be benefitting from childcare discounts.
Claire Rick, spokeswoman at the School Food Trust, said: “Offering promotions and reduced prices on healthy school meals does encourage more families to try them.”
She added that school lunches tended to be healthier and provide pupils with much more dietary variety.
Recently, insurance expert Aviva claimed that the food that companies offer their staff at lunch time could actually damage their productivity if menus are not crafted carefully.
Money off deals and discount vouchers are an integral part of consumer life, according to iVoucher.
The firm, which specialises in helping Londoners find somewhere interesting – and cheap – to eat, hints that exclusive discounts may be successful as an employee engagement tool.
iVoucher, which launched its very own discounts app at the start of this month (September), claimed that consumers are increasingly making decisions based on price – in part thanks to the recent economic downturn and slow rate of recovery.
“The latest statistics published by YouGov state that 60 per cent of diners now look for a voucher/offer before choosing where to go out,” iVoucher’s commercial director Josephine Boyd said.
She added: “It is now an integral part of a consumer’s decision.”
International beverage manufacturer Carlsberg offers a number of flexible benefits and discounted deals to its staff – including cut-rate gym membership, which has seen uptake rise by nine per cent this year, reports Employee Benefits magazine.
Wealthy Europeans want to pay more tax and enjoy fewer lifestyle benefits to help nations reduce their budget deficits, it has been claimed.
According to Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis, told the Financial Times that the most privileged members of society should take on a much larger share of the economic burden caused by the recent economic downturn.
His comments come after entrepreneur Warren Buffet claimed he was not paying enough tax.
Mr Levy told the news provider: “I am not a masochist; I do not love taxes.
“But right now this is important and just.”
Mr Buffet’s remarks that the US was “coddling” the wealthy appeared in an editorial in the New York Times earlier this month and started a widespread debate on the fairness of post-recession taxation.
In France, 16 top-earning execs – including the heads of Airbus and Societe Generale, signed a petition that aims to encourage the government to tax them more.
Recently, unbiased.co.uk claimed that the less well off in the UK could miss out on £8.5 billion worth of lifestyle benefits offered by the UK government this year.
Companies that offer lifestyle benefits in the form of food at lunchtime may actually be harming staff motivation.
Results from a new Aviva study have shown that 45 per cent of firms provide nourishment to their staff, but 38 per cent of this is said to be unhealthy.
This leads to nearly a third of respondents taking in their own lunch in order to maintain a healthier diet.
According to the study, firms may need to ensure they are rewarding the hard work of staff with various perks, as 30 per cent said they skipped lunch breaks to keep up with their workload.
Head of clinical development at Aviva UK Health Dr Doug Wright reiterated the importance of employees getting a break and eating the right products.
“Employers can help by offering healthy food options to support and encourage their staff to eat well and by removing those barriers that still exist to taking a proper lunch break,” he commented.
A lack of breaks may explain figures released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which showed many 18 to 24-year-olds are unhappy in their jobs.
Some workers who have taken advantage of the lifestyle benefits associated with savings schemes may add to their funds if the government opts to hike interest rates.
In a new study conducted by Legal & General, 35 per cent of people said they would put more money into their pots to make full use of the increased interest.
However, 11 per cent suggested they would take the opposite approach and withdraw money from their accounts. This was particularly the case with those who have mortgages.
Around 53 per cent of respondents said they would “do nothing” if changes were made.
Of those who said they had savings perks in place, the majority (68 per cent) claimed to be putting money aside “for a rainy day”.
Justin Modray of Candidmoney.com recently stated that the thought of having a savings account was a “pipedream” for many UK employees, with plenty having no cash to spare once their household bills have been covered.
Workers across the UK could miss out on lifestyle benefits worth £8.5 billion this year, new figures have revealed.
A study conducted by unbiased.co.uk has suggested the huge sum will be lost as people fail to claim childcare and pension perks from the government.
Those who do not receive childcare vouchers from their employer may be eligible to apply for tax credits from the authorities, but statistics have shown that 475,000 families who are entitled to the money may not realise it.
As well as this, up to £2.3 billion of pension credit looks set to remain unclaimed in 2011.
The July 31st deadline to apply for the financial support has now passed, but unbiased.co.uk chief executive Karen Barrett has said a 30-day extension for renewals is normally granted by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.
“It has never been more pressing for entitled consumers to ensure they are making the most of the tax credits and benefits available to them,” she remarked.
Last week, managing director of moneymaxim.co.uk Mark Bower urged workers to talk to their employers about receiving childcare provisions.
The notion of enjoying the future lifestyle benefits that savings schemes bring is a “pipedream” for many UK workers.
This is the view of Justin Modray of Candidmoney.com, who believes the perks of such funds are not being fully appreciated by many employees who are trying their best “not to drown in debt”.
“Fortunately, interest rates look set to stay low for some time which gives some respite through low mortgage payments,” Mr Modray commented.
However, he added that “it will hurt” the average worker once tax rises and spending cuts take hold, which may prompt companies to offer support in the form of childcare vouchers or special deals on everyday items.
Food and fuel prices have soared in recent months and many people may struggle if these do not drop by the end of the year, Mr Modray concluded.
According to a study conducted by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, 65 per cent of respondents regularly borrow money from their partners, with 89 per cent saying they never pay them back.
Companies may be put under pressure to offer staff better lifestyle benefits such as money off certain everyday items, as consumer confidence in the UK has deteriorated.
According to latest figures compiled by Nielsen and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), one in three people do not have any spare cash from their monthly wage once they have forked out for all of their bills – a record high in Britain.
Indeed, 71 per cent said they had been forced to reassess their shopping habits, with 65 per cent opting to buy budget brands in order to make savings.
The need for employers to offer special deals to their workforce was reiterated by director general of the BRC Stephen Robertson.
“Even after paying out for essentials, households that do have spare cash are choosing to pay off debts and build-up savings rather than spend on the high street,” he remarked.
This comes after a study conducted by Work Life UK on behalf of the Guardian showed 53 per cent of workers would turn to a colleague in order to gain financial advice.
Large numbers of people see their property as crucial to their future lifestyle benefits, as many have neglected company pension schemes.
A new study conducted by Barings Asset Management has shown that 13 per cent of respondents said their “property is their pension”, which has grown from just eight per cent in 2008.
The research also discovered that 38 per cent of eligible males have not taken on a pension as part of their employee benefits package.
Around 1.4 million people over the age of 55 have not got a retirement fund, while 18 to 24-year-olds are unsurprisingly the biggest offenders, with 69 per cent having no scheme in place.
Chief investment officer at Barings Marino Valensise said the figures were “very worrying”.
“It is concerning to learn that only half of people in their late twenties and early thirties are contributing into a pension scheme,” he remarked.
The public sector appears to buck this trend, as recent statistics compiled by Badenoch and Clark showed 45 per cent would rather take a pay cut than reductions in pension provisions.