5 Things To Expect In The Employee Benefits World In 2015
We’re now a fortnight into 2015 and the New Year’s Eve hangovers have long gone – we’re assuming! It’s time, therefore, to take a serious look at what HR departments can expect in 2015 from the employee benefits world and this blog post will do exactly that.
2015 is set to be a massive year for employee benefits, with the long-awaited pension reforms kicking in as well as the small matter of a general election, which is bound to shake up the employee benefits industry and many others too.
Here at DAM, we’ve had many people asking what can be expected this year, therefore, so we thought it wise to spell out the 5 main things that are set to happen to the UK employee benefits industry in 2015. Here we go!
1. “Financial Education” is to become the trendiest term in employee benefits
If 2014 was the year of the selfie stick, then 2015 is the year of Financial Education, at least for employers.
On April 1st, the government’s pension freedoms reforms come into force and along with this we will see the arrival of Pension Wise – the government’s Guidance Guarantee package which will see all those coming up for retirement offered a brief meeting to outline the new pension options available via The Pensions Advisory Service or Citizens Advice Bureau.
While commendable, many doubt how effective the government’s service will actually be since the guidance providers cannot recommend specific investment products or services. As Pension’s Expert points out in an article this morning, the Guidance Guarantee could convince employers to seriously review the Financial Education that they offer their employees. “The service could act as a catalyst to review (employers’) financial education programmes” writes this morning’s piece.
That’s why Financial Education is set to be talked and talked about as a vital employee benefit in 2015 and employers which feel a responsibility for making sure their staff don’t mis-manage their finances will seriously consider bringing this benefit to their workplace.
While trendy now, DAM has actually been providing Financial Education services as an employee benefit for years so to find out more or ask any questions, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The General Election could mix employee benefits up
As with any General Election year, changes are on the horizon and the outcomes could change employee benefits in the following ways:
- If Labour win, Pensions Auto Enrolment could be extended to include workers earning over £5,773 and not just those over £10,000.
- If the Conservatives win, the already proposed tax-free childcare allowance per child under 12 years old of up to £2,000 should go ahead.
- If the Conservatives win, an EU referendum means the UK could exit the EU and thus the EU cap on bankers’ bonuses could be abolished. If Labour wins, an EU referendum is unlikely.
- If a Labour or Liberal Democrat government were to win, they may restrict salary sacrifice causing a big impact on employers’ bottom lines.
- If Labour wins, the national minimum wage could rise to £8 per hour.
3. Auto Enrolment is still going on through 2015
While Pensions Auto Enrolment has already been completed for many employers, 2015 will see many smaller businesses stage. Most companies with a workforce between 30 and 58 will be staging in 2015 and the fact that these are small businesses which in all likelihood don’t have HR departments, this could be the first employee benefit many of these businesses have ever offered.
Auto Enrolment has been a major success so far, with few firms failing to comply on time. As the companies complying get smaller and smaller, however, more and more issues are likely to arise, precisely because of that previous point of these companies not having HR departments or having very small ones. It remains to be seen just how difficult Auto Enrolment compliance will be for these smaller companies, but 2015 will be the year we find out.
4. Group Risk Auto Enrolment Could Be On Its Way
If HR staff thought they could breathe a big sigh of relief now that Pensions Auto Enrolment is out of the way for most large companies, then they may have been mistaken.
The Association of British Insurers has been pushing for Auto Enrolment to be applied to group risk once the Pensions Auto Enrolment is fully out of the way. Group Income Protection could, therefore, be the next automatic enrolment challenge in an effort to reduce the strain on the NHS and the UK’s £36 billion healthcare bill.
Luckily for employers this won’t begin in 2015 as Pensions Auto Enrolment would have to be successfully completed first. But it should become clearer in 2015 whether or not this is likely to go ahead, particularly if it becomes a key general election issue.
5. Half of employers plan to aim for a better employee benefits deal in 2015
Employee Benefits Magazine has found that 46% of employers plan to review their benefits to find better deals on their employee benefits in 2015. The reason that figure is so high could be precisely because Pensions Auto Enrolment is finished for most employers and their next focus is on getting value-for-money with their employee benefits.
At DAM, we can help employers with the review stage with our Free Employee Benefits Review. We can research what your current benefits offering is like and outline where savings or better value could be found.
It’s free so there’s nothing to lose and you can arrange that free benefits review with us by emailing email@example.com today! Jump on that bandwagon with the other 46% of employers!