Penalty fear as firms fail to meet pension demand

first_img Comments are closed. Employersare at risk from hefty fines because they are ignorant of their legalcommitments under the new stakeholder regulations, according to research.Morethan 60 per cent of companies do not plan to set up a stakeholder pension schemedespite the fact that the regulations come into on 1 April according to a studyby law firm Punter Southall & Co.Thesurvey, which analysed awareness of stakeholder requirements among 250 of thelargest companies in the UK, also found that many respondents were misinformedabout which employees may be eligible for a stakeholder scheme.Just10 per cent of employers said they would be offering a stakeholder scheme totheir contractors and only 23 per cent intended to offer a scheme to theirtemporary staff.Butunder the new regulations both sets of employees may be entitled to membershipof a stakeholder pension even though they are excluded from many existingoccupational schemes.TheWelfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 requires employers to provide relevantemployees access to stakeholder pensions schemes unless they are exempt.Ifemployers who are not exempt do not provide access to the scheme by 8 October,the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority has the power to fine them up to£50,000.SteveLeake, principal at Punter Southall, said, “It is alarming that such a largeproportion of big business players fails to appreciate or chooses to ignoreeven the most basic legal commitments imposed on them by the new stakeholderregulations.“Stakeholderis not an issue that can be swept under the carpet. Those companies which havenot yet taken serious concerted action to address the new rules must seekprofessional advice immediately. “Ifthey let apathy prevail they can expect to see a stern letter and a hefty finefrom Opra in October when the deadline for implementation expires.”Anew website has been set up by Opra which will show employers if they need tooffer stakeholder pensions to staff.Theywill be asked to answer “yes” or “no” online to a series of simple questionsand will be able to see if they are exempt from having to offer access tostakeholder pensions.Seeour at-a-glance guide to stakeholder pensions at Penalty fear as firms fail to meet pension demandOn 27 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Draft directive can still be challenged

first_imgDraft directive can still be challengedOn 30 May 2001 in Personnel Today Of all the draft EU directives sitting on the desks of power in Brussels,employers have always been most fearful of the one on information andconsultation. Now speculation is rife among the Euro-watchers that at nextmonth’s Council of Ministers’ meeting it could finally get voted through – a UKlaw could follow in three years’ time.This spectre has been raised before and employers’ organisations like theCBI keep dismissing it as rumour-mongering. Employers say national workscouncils’ proposals, as the directive is more colloquially known, will have adamaging impact on UK business. It allows staff access to information on themost sensitive areas – from mergers to redundancies and business sales. Andemployers face paying out 90 days’ wages for each employee disadvantaged by thelack of consultation. It looks like HR professionals will have to live with this legislation. Butthere is no reason why they should let it go through unchallenged – it is stilla draft directive. The text of an EU proposal does not have to impose a rigid works councilstructure on every company. Before it is translated into the UK legislativeframework, senior HR practitioners should contact European lobbyists or MEPs topush for a long lead-in time. They should insist on clauses that say if acompany has an effective consultation scheme, it should be acceptable. Thedetail should be left to individual firms. There are some benefits to good consultation – a well-informed workforceshould equal a motivated workforce. And if consultation with staff is going tobe key to a successful merger or business sale, it will give HR more clout inthe boardroom as the executive team turns to HR before the investment bankerfor advice. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more


first_imgThis week’s guruGot you bang to rights chapter and verseWhenever Guru gets a bit short of anecdotal outpourings, he can always counton the police to turn something up. Humberside police force is employing a comic poet to help officerscommunicate better. The usual approach, “Hello, hello, hello, what’s goingon here then,” is destined to be replaced with something more flowing. The poet, Ian McMillan, is described as “relentlessly jolly” andis poet-in-residence at Barnsley FC. The poet’s modest fee will come from administrative budgets rather thanfunds intended for front-line crime-fighting. Fortunately, victims of crime will not be handled by sonnet-spoutingsergeants. A police spokesman said, “Ian’s humour will only be used whereappropriate.” Hola! I need to spend a peseta Guru was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of an HR software productin Madrid last week. But it turned out like a debate in the European Parliament– everyone saying something meaningful, but no one saying it in the samelanguage. The Spanish tried to speak English when demonstrating the product, and theEnglish people involved in the project used presentation slides in Spanish. Atthe climax of the presentation, Guru – who had indulged in too much sangria –asked where the toilet was, and was told it was 2.30pm. Guru admits that theproblem lay with his linguistic abilities, not theirs. Talking a good game It seems as though politicians are not the only ones indulging in a littlespin at the moment. Big businesses are exaggerating how well they are doing to get staff to workharder, reports the Independent on Sunday. Companies such as IBM are talking up their successes in order to make staffmore enthusiastic. At IBM, the process is known as “faction” andinvolves real-life anecdotes being exaggerated by executives. Guru is so intrigued by these urban myths that he wants to hear examplesfrom his disciples. We’ve all heard about Bill Gates’ enigmatic presence atMicrosoft HQ and how it prompted round-the-clock working. Do you know any stories? Remember, we’re talking about corporate urbanmyths, not ones involving Hollywood actors and hamsters. Contact Guru at theusual address. Previous Article Next Article GuruOn 30 May 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgKevin Hogarth on Capital One’s ‘evolution’Keen walker Kevin Hogarth has joined Capital One bank as the director ofinternal resourcing, and reckons the move has come at an ideal time. “It’s great to be involved in a business as it moves into a new stageof its development,” he says. “I’m most looking forward to helpingthe company move into a different phase of its evolution. It’s a very youthfuland energetic business, but it’s starting to develop some maturity.” He joins Capital One from Ernst & Young, where he was responsible forresourcing strategy in the UK. He has a strong philosophy at work and sees HRas central to the company’s development. “I think HR is about creating an environment where people can make themost of their skills and it can be right at the heart of where the business isgoing over the next few years,” he says. His main hobby – which has been drastically interrupted recently because offoot-and-mouth disease – is walking around the Yorkshire Dales with his wife. Most of his free time, however, is taken up looking after his 10-year-oldtwins. Hogarth is a graduate of the University of York and is CIPD accredited. CV2001 Director of international resourcing, Capital One1999 UK resourcing director, Ernst & Young1997 HR director for Northern region, Ernst & Young1996 HR director for general insurance, Abbey NationalOn the moveThe Personnel Effectiveness Centrehas appointed Rebecca Austerfield as account manager. The firm specialises ineffectiveness issues and intervention services, including counselling,occupational health and training. It also helps firms operate more productivelyby providing workplace solutions. She says that hands-on customer service anddeveloping strong and long-lasting relationships are the aspects she is goingto enjoy most in her new role. Previously, she was with City Healthcare andthen Bupa Wellness. She has eight years’ experience in the healthcare market.Sasha Butterworth has joinedBristol-based law firm TLT, as a solicitor with expert knowledge of thepensions industry. She is joint author of Employers Guide to StakeholderPensions (CBI) and Stakeholder Pensions: A Practical Guide (Tolleys). She joinsfrom pensions law firm Hammond Suddards.Stakeholder value consultants BlackSun has recruited Richard Hammond as head of the employee value solutionsdivision. Hammond will oversee the development of initiatives to improveretention, recognition and reward programmes for clients of the firm, includingAbbey National, British Airways and BT Cellnet. Hammond joins from MaritzEuropa, whose clients included Pizza Hut, Whitbread and KFC. Related posts:No related photos. PeopleOn 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


first_imgTrainingOn 26 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. This week’s training newsSafe driving handout More than 11,500 company car drivers at Johnson & Johnson have beengiven a CD-ROM as part of the firm’s Safe Fleet scheme. The company is hoping toimprove employee safety and the first CD covers winter driving and includes asafe vehicle checklist. IT has been produced by DriveTech and distributed tostaff in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. first aid on the up St John Ambulance has increased its first aid training in the workplace by10 per cent on last year. More than 250,000 staff received training in theworkplace, highlighting the increased emphasis on safety at work. The charity,which trains 500,000 people in first aid every year, is urging companies tosign up to a first aid at work course. targeted Latvian police, customs officers and prosecutors have undergone an intensivetraining programme co-ordinated by a British firm. More than 60 staff have beentrained by Espin Forest in an attempt to reduce corruption in the Baltic state.The country is struggling with low-level corruption and smuggling, so the EUhas stepped in to fund the initiative. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Lessons in productivity must be learned in the classroom

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Lessons in productivity must be learned in the classroomOn 25 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today A solution to the UK’s productivity problem may be found in the workers ofthe future, as long as business and education work together to produce a widerange of options to cater for all abilitiesThere is an urgent need to address the link between skill deficiencies andlower levels of productivity in the UK. While we welcomed the Government’srecent reforms on 14 to 19 education, we now need to see concrete evidence thatthis problem is being addressed. Business has long been lobbying for an education system that matches theneeds of the economy, creates a highly-skilled and flexible workforce for thefuture and eventually makes a significant contribution to improvingproductivity and competitiveness. From an employers’ perspective, the changes to the curriculum for 14 to 19year olds, announced by David Milliband, will open the door to a more coherent,responsive and relevant approach to learning which will deliver benefits acrossthe entire ability range and eventually to business. It is often overlooked that school is not just where young people learn, itis also a place where they receive their preparation for life and, inparticular, their working life. Employers require well-rounded individuals who are capable of inquiry andapplication, as well as being able to demonstrate a positive attitude towardslearning. They want to know what a young person has achieved and how they willcontribute to the success of their business. In response, young people need to be able to demonstrate the skills andattributes they have developed through a variety of learning experiences. So,young people need to be exposed to as wide a range of learning experiences ineducation as possible, including vocational and work-based learning. For too long, vocational and work-based learning has been seen as a dumpingground solely for the disaffected and disinclined, and for those with a pooracademic record. While many young people have found a new motivation and inspiration forlearning in vocational education, this is largely due to the change in learningstyles and subject, rather than because non-academic qualifications are”easier”. Vocational qualifications, such as Modern Apprenticeships in engineering,are demanding and rigorous, reflecting the needs of an increasingly high-techindustry. They are also a route to higher education which is just as valid asacademic A-levels. The success of the reforms and future benefits to employers will dependprimarily on a range of factors. The first is recognition, articulated by government, and taken up byeducation, of the need for (and value of) a range of learning andqualifications to be available to all, not just the disaffected. This meansthose students who excel at school have the opportunity to explore a range oflearning, without fear of stigma or of compromising their future plans forhigher learning. It means an end to the view that those who reach high levelsof professional excellence through the work-based route have done it “thehard way”, and a recognition that structured learning in the workplaceprovides skills which employers value. Industry has a key part to play in delivering improvements to the range ofoptions offered to students. It can provide high-quality work experience and business placements forstudents, giving them the chance to develop skills which they will find usefulin whatever career they follow, and teaching them about the kinds of attitudesand behaviours which make them ready for work. It can also provide role models who know first-hand about working in aparticular job or sector. It can get involved in a whole range of initiativesto bring schools and businesses closer – such as the Science and EngineeringAmbassadors Scheme, and sponsorship of specialist schools – and release staffto contribute through school and college-governing bodies. Aiding the acceleration of knowledge transfer links between business andacademia, with the creation of stronger university/business partnerships, willundoubtedly help to address the UK’s long-term failure to translate thestrength of its science base into innovative and effective performance. If the reforms are introduced in a realistic and well-supported manner, withteachers, parents, students and employers all moving together, we think thiswill be a significant step towards meeting the needs of industry and thecountry as a whole. By Martin Temple, Chief executive Engineering Employers’ Federationlast_img read more

E-universities scheme axed over poor take-up levels

first_imgE-universities scheme axed over poor take-up levelsOn 1 Jul 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Poor student take-up and a lack of private finance were the main reasons forthe failure of the Government-backed UK e-Universities (UKeU) company, which iscurrently being wound down and its activities transferred. When it was established in 2001, the public-private initiative aimed to makeUK higher education available worldwide through online degrees and courses, butdespite the availability of £62m of Government funding, UKeU only managed toattract 900 students by September 2003, way below its target of 6,500. “The problem was not one thing but lots of things,” said Dr LizBeaty, director of learning and teaching at the Higher Education FundingCouncil of England. “It was a big stretch for the company to go fromcreating learning and development materials, building a platform for delivery,and then doing all the marketing at the other end. We also didn’t get theprivate funding that we’d hoped for. This was partly due to factors such as thedotcom crash, since money wasn’t being put into e-learning at that time.” Beaty is keen to point out that the demise of the online venture isn’t areflection of e-learning’s abilities, but more that changes in the learninglandscape meant UKeU was no longer the right structure to deliver such learning.”E-learning has changed so much over the past few years,” shesaid. “Our recent research showed that universities and colleges are nowgetting into managed learning environments, but they want to do it in their ownway and build out from their core business rather than have a company do it forthem. “While it’s been disappointing, the sector [higher education] istelling us that it doesn’t want people to think it isn’t interested ine-learning, because that’s just not true. The message is that e-learning istaking off but in a more blended way, with a campus-based lead, rather than abig push out to distance learning.” Funding for the UKeU project totalled £50m, which includes a limited andfinal sum to facilitate restructuring and transferring its activities. Thebalance of the £62m originally provided by the Government, as well as otherfunds, will be used to support the development of e-learning in universitiesand colleges. Following the most recent board meeting by HEFCE in June, a number of its activitiesare being transferred, including the e-China programme (a Sino-UK e-learningproject), which will be project managed by the University of Cambridge and thee-Learning Research Centre. This will continue as a partnership between theUniversities of Manchester and Southampton, and the Higher Education Academy. By Sue Weekes Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

New drinking laws feared by business

first_imgThereare less than six months until new laws legalising 24-hour drinking come intoeffect. But both employers and staff fear that increased drinking will causeproblems at work and lead to a decrease in productivity.TheGovernment hopes the implementation of the 2003 Licensing Act will bringEuropean- style ‘cafe culture’ to UKcities, reducing the potential for post-closing time misbehaviour.However,a survey of almost 8,500 UKstaff unveiled this week shows the majority of respondents believe thatround-the-clock licences will have a detrimental effect on productivity at workTheresearch, compiled by recruitment website, estimates that the totalcost of alcohol abuse to UKbusiness – combining the cost of drink-induced sick days with lost productivitycaused by hangovers at work – is already almost £2.8bn per annum.Morethan half the respondents (51 per cent), drawn from more than 10 industrysectors, believe that 24-hour licences will cause a further drain on UKorganisations’ productivity and finances. Only 6 per cent believe it will leadto increased productivity at work, while just over a third (37 per cent) believe there will be no change.Youngerpeople – who are considered the most likely to binge drink – are particularlyconcerned. The research shows 55 per cent of 18 to 25-year-old respondentsbelieve the relaxed laws will hit productivity.Thesurvey also highlights the change in attitudes to alcohol, with almost a third(31 per cent) of respondents suggesting it is now more acceptable to turn up towork with a hangover than it was three years ago.Geethika Jayatilaka, director of policy and public affairs atAlcohol Concern, said the findings raise fears that new licencing laws could exacerbate current problems inthe workplace.”Wealready know that binge drinkers are at a higher risk of unemployment, and thisresearch serves to reinforce the fact that staff who go out drinking excessively are more likely tounder-perform or call in sick the next day,” she said.”Drinkingtoo much the night before is also accountable for many avoidable accidents atwork caused by employees still under the influence of alcohol.”MartinWarnes, manager, said the Government should consider scrapping the option of beingopen all hours from the Licensing Act.”Itis interesting to recall that the licencinglaws were first introduced because munitions workers in the First World Warcouldn’t perform tasks properly,” he said. “Perhaps the Governmentshould bear this in mind before trying to introduce a European drinking culturethrough legal changes.”Lastyear, the TUC called on employers to work harder with unions to draw up alcoholpolicies that covered the causes of excessive drinking, confidentiality,counselling, screening, testing and the role of occupational health services.However,employers should tread carefully when considering alcohol-related issues atwork, said Mark Taylor, employment partner at law firm Lovells.”Ifthe employer has a reasonable belief that an employee’s performance is beingaffected by alcohol and has proof – such as slurring – it could be treated asmisconduct,” he said. “But the difficulty is consistency, becausepeople could point to situations, such as sales staff being encouraged to drinkat lunchtime with clients.”Despitethe potential difficulties, most employers should not face too many problemsdue to the new laws, according to Taylor, who believes the findings of the Reedsurvey are over-pessimistic.”Theremay be an element of novelty at the start, but after a few months it shouldsettle down,” he said. “The majority of workers are responsibleenough not to let alcohol affect their performance.”By Daniel Thomas Hangovers: the cost to UK employers –UKemployees on average turn up to work with a hangover two-and-a half days ayear, which, given a working population of 28,301,000, translates to more than72 million days –Hangovers cause a 27 per cent loss in productivity among those who make it intowork after a night of alcoholic excess–In real terms, this equates to a loss of 19 million working days annually, witha cost to UKemployers of £1.8bn in lost working hours–This is in addition to the 10 million working days lost annually as staff takedays off sick due to hangovers, costing UK employers an estimated £ New drinking laws feared by businessOn 24 Aug 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

HR: Why The IQ/EQ balance is important

first_imgHR: Why The IQ/EQ balance is importantShared from missc on 23 Feb 2015 in Personnel Today Read full article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.center_img When hiring a new staff member, what are the key criteria you look for outside of the competence or experience in fulfilling the job description?We live in an age of collaboration and knowledge sharing and so the ability to positively influence situations and navigate your way around day to day scenarios with tact and diplomacy are fundamental to success. Intelligence, experience and skill are essential for success but we must stop thinking of intelligence as knowledge gained in academia. It is now widely accepted that the most successful among us have a blend of IQ and EQ, the proportions of which are widely disputed. We define and measure EQ in 5 areas. They are Self-awareness/self-control, Empathy, Social skills, Personal Influence & Motivation. So how do you screen for EQ? Here are a few questions that may help:Tell me about a time when your actions positively impacted someone else?Have you ever been in a situation where you realised that you have had to change or modify your behaviour? How did you notice this?Tell me about a time you have had to prepare yourself for a situation you knew would be negative. What did you do? How did it work out?Have you ever received criticism? What was it? Were you surprised?Tell me about a time that you were angry with someone at work. What did you do?Situational questioning will require you to observe not just the answer but how the interviewee is answering and how comfortable they are with the questions, but you will be ensuring best possible chance of securing a well-rounded professional who will flourish and succeed in a broader range of environments and circumstances. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Lower East Side home of Mercury Lounge for sale

first_imgMusic venues have been largely unable to operate in the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released guidance that will allow some live performances to resume in April.Under the guidance, arts, entertainment and events venues can reopen April 2 at 33 percent capacity, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors. All attendees would have to abide by social distancing precautions and would need to wear masks. Limits have the potential to be increased if all attendees test negative before entering, according to the New York Times.[Bowery Boogie] — Sasha JonesContact Sasha Jones Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Commercial Real EstateManhattan Sales Share via Shortlink 217 East Houston Street (Photos via Halstead, Team Dustizeff/Wikimedia)The Lower East Side building that’s home to the popular nightclub Mercury Lounge is for sale.The mixed-use tenement building is listed for $7.5 million, according to Bowery Boogie. In 2010, the property sold for $5.28 million, or $550 per square foot.The building is split between the venue, which occupies the ground floor, and eight apartments above it. Five of those units are rent-stabilized, while three are market-rate. The Mercury Lounge has been at the location for more than 25 years and renewed its lease for another five-year term last December.A 12-story tower is slated to rise next door at 225 East Houston Street, with the air rights for the property at No. 217 reportedly selling to the developer in 2015, according to the publication.ADVERTISEMENTRead moreBars and music venues across America worry they’ll never reopenNYC, New Jersey restaurants to open at 50% capacityWhy affordable housing sits empty Message* Full Name* Email Address* Tagslast_img read more