Aug 30, 2010


The steps required to modify or redesign the benefits package are as follows:

1.     Analyse trends in the market place using survey and other data for the provision of benefits, and assess what is regarded as the best practice in each area.

2.     Analyse trends in the recruitment and retention of staff to assess, in the light of the market survey, any areas where it is believed that improvements in the benefits package and/or the way it is applied might improve the ability of the organization to attract and retain staff.

3.     Assess in discussions with management what it wants the employee benefits, strategies and policies of the organization to achieve and the extent to which the present arrangements satisfy these objectives.

4.     Consult employees on their needs (consider using an attitude survey for this purpose).

5.     Obtain the views of relevant trade unions or staff associations.

6.     Assess the tax implications of current and projected government policies.

7.     In the light of these processes of analysis and consultation:
a.     conduct an overall review of employee benefits strategies under the headings listed above;
b.    review each of the main policy areas as set out in the key dimensions part of this section;
c.     decide, on the basis of these reviews, any changes required to strategies and policies and the steps required to get these changes formulated, agreed and introduced.

8.     In the light of revised strategies and policies and by reference to the analytical and consultative steps taken earlier (stages 1 to 5):
a.     subject each benefit to careful scrutiny to determine any changes required to content or application;
b.    examine the costs of each benefit and assess whether it is providing value for money (this involves comparing the cost of providing and administering the benefit with an assessment of the extent to which it is meeting the needs of the company and its employees - clearly low cost to employer/high value to employee items will be the most attractive);
c.     decide if any additional items should be included in the package and assess their likely contributions to meeting organizational and individual needs and their overall cost effectiveness;
d.    decide if any items should be eliminated on cost-effectiveness grounds - but beware of taking away traditional benefits if the timing is poor and the change is the wrong symbolic act;
e.     plan the steps required to make the changes, including the design of the benefit, consultation with staff and methods of communicating information on the changes to all those affected including tax implications).

9.     Introduce the changes, ensuring that the supporting administrative systems are properly installed and that the communication programme takes place as planned.

Aug 27, 2010


The key factors to be taken into account in developing employee benefit strategies are that they should:
§  be an integral part of the total reward management strategy of the organization, which in turn should specifically support the achievement of its business objectives;
§  add value to basic remuneration and performance-related pay policies by extending the purely financial provisions of these policies into areas where the company will benefit from providing additional rewards and which will support the achievement of employees' specific needs;
§  be in line and supportive of the culture of the organization and its value system;
§  demonstrate to employees that they are members of a caring and enabling organization which is concerned in highly practical terms with meeting their needs for security, support and other forms of help so that they are able really to give of their best;
§  meet the needs of the organization to increase the commitment of its members, to develop their identification with its objectives and to increase unity of purpose;
§  meet the real needs of individual employees rather than those needs which management believes they should have;
§  help the organization to recruit and retain high-quality and well-motivated staff by being competitive in the market place;
§  ensure that benefits are cost effective in the sense that the increase they produce in commitment and improvement in recruitment and retention rates justify their cost;
§  take account of relative tax efficiencies in structuring the package;
§  establish an appropriate degree of flexibility in operating the benefit package;
§  provide a measure of individual choice to employees;
§  aim to avoid an over-divisive approach which places employees into clearly defined 'have' and 'have not' categories;
§  bear in mind the importance of the non-tangible benefits as well as those which provide extra remuneration or financial assistance;
§  be creative - not simply offering what competitors offer but devising new approaches to structuring the package and to providing individual benefits which are tailored to the strategic needs of the organization (like giving secretaries having to cope in poor, if temporary, office conditions, fresh flowers on their desk every week in recognition of their commitment and tolerance of the environment).

Aug 23, 2010


Add a note hereIt should already be clear from much of this book that the authors do not believe that people work for money alone. There are many determinants of the decision to work for, and stay with, a particular employer. Throwing money at recruitment and retention problems may be the worst possible strategy because this only deals with one aspect of what may be a complex problem. It is also, of course, self-limiting, because there has to be an ultimate ceiling on employment costs. What we want to emphasize here is the simple fact that employees weigh up a number of tangible and intangible factors when looking at what employers have on offer. The list below sets out in more detail the main items involved. Most of them are strongly related to the need for personal recognition and the desire to go on learning and developing as a career goes through different stages. Recognition of the overlap between private and working life is also important. Most people prefer to work for an employer who is caring and supportive as well as challenging and successful.
Add a note hereThe principal items that form part of the 'psychological contract' are:

§  Add a note hereStatus - recognition of seniority and professional excellence.
§  Add a note herePower - the opportunity to influence the course of the business and take responsibility for a growing number of functions and people.
§  Add a note hereRecognition for achievement - a culture in which managers praise and reinforce individual success.
§  Add a note hereTraining opportunities - the chance to acquire a wider range of skills in preparation for promotion and to function more effectively and confidently.
§  Add a note hereCareer progression - the prospect of promotion, preferably in relation to a properly designed succession plan, to ensure that the right experience is acquired at the right time to enable new responsibilities to be taken on when the individual has been properly prepared for them.
§  Add a note hereGood working conditions - pleasant, spacious and well-designed offices and other work environments which facilitate effective working both for individuals and teams.
§  Add a note hereA well-managed organization - an appropriate organization structure infused with a sense of purpose and commitment. The reputation for running a 'rough shop' spreads quickly and prevents successful recruitment of all but those who believe they can change it - until they give up!
§  Add a note hereRecognition of the need to balance work and family responsibilities - employees knowing that they are treated as responsible individuals whose family commitments are important to them. This means not developing a culture where becoming a workaholic and risking family breakdown is a key means to promotion. It also means taking a reasonable view on attendance, for instance, at school functions and other family occasions. Organizations seeking to recruit women returners are finding that they have to pay greater heed to the family responsibilities of their men to enable women to feel free to take up employment with adequate partner support. One is mindful of Rosabeth Moss Kanter's paradox - 'succeed, succeed, succeed and raise terrific children' (When Giants Learn to Dance, p 21).
§  Add a note hereFlexibility - a willingness to tailor conditions to the particular needs of individuals. Companies can rapidly develop this when they have to attract staff in great demand, but there may also be benefits to be gained, in terms of commitment and stability, from using the principle in other areas.

Aug 18, 2010

COMPANY CARS | Employee Benefits

Few other countries in the world provide company cars to the same extent as the UK. Foreign parent companies setting up in the UK often experience difficulty in persuading head office that such generous provisions are necessary to compete in the salary market. Employees seldom move from a job where they have a car to a non-car job, even if it carries a much higher basic salary. This is because in the private sector, and now in parts of the public sector too, cars are a mark of managerial status. Company cars are normally taxed, insured and maintained at company expense. They are, therefore, a large benefit and create a major differential and, some would say, distortion at the point in a salary structure where they are given on the basis of status alone.

Add a note hereThe cash value to an employee of a company car can be as much as £5,000 to £10,000 a year (or more) depending on the model. The gap in a reward structure between the 'haves' and 'have nots' in company car terms is therefore considerable and can and does frequently cause heartache.
Add a note hereUntil the mid-1990s, company cars were a tax-efficient benefit. A series of tax increases means that this is no longer the case; successive governments have changed the taxation of company cars with the aim of reducing the number of company cars on the road. Between 1994 and 2002, cars were taxed based on the number of business miles driven each year, with tax payable reducing as mileage increased over certain thresholds. This produced driver behaviours that were exactly opposite to those aimed for, as company car drivers abandoned trains and planes in order to reach the magical 18,000-mile barrier at which tax was minimized. Taxation is now based on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by the particular vehicle, with lower levels of tax payable on more environmentally friendly cars. The government's stated intention is that the changes should be 'revenue neutral'. However, a neutral position inevitably creates winners and losers - the winners are those who have the opportunity to select a vehicle with low emissions, while the losers are those who drive over 18,000 business miles per annum.
Add a note hereCompany car policies are often a benefit 'trouble spot' and can take an inordinate amount of top executive time to get right. Car fleet management is not an area for amateurs. Most large organizations have a fleet manager in charge of the acquisition and maintenance of the company car fleet, leaving the details of allocation policy and the way in which cars fit into remuneration policy as the main problems of the compensation and benefits specialists. Here a number of problems arise. People who are not entitled to them often try to get cars on the basis of business need, or to get their jobs regraded to a level where car provision is automatic. When they eventually get cars there may still be problems about the model, the permitted extras or the replacement cycle. In devising the remuneration policy element of company car policies, the following areas have to be dealt with in relation to what the company can afford in the face of competitive practice:
1.  Add a note hereAllocation policy: this deals with who is to get cars on the basis of status, and what the annual mileage threshold is, before cars are given in response to business needs (this is typically around 10,000 miles but may vary based on the position).
2.  Add a note hereCar model entitlements: when deciding car model entitlements the choice is between setting them rigidly in relation to a small number of models at each status level or, as is now more common, in relation to a benchmark price or lease cost, allowing varying degrees of freedom of choice. Few companies allow open sports cars, while others restrict the choice to models manufactured in EC or Scandinavian countries or even to models manufactured in Britain. The market trend is to allow as wide a choice as possible within a given cost framework.
Add a note hereOrganizations may also choose to allow some flexibility either on the additional extras that may be added to the car at employees' expense or, indeed, over whether they can make a contribution out of salary to either the lease cost or the purchase price of a more expensive car if they want one. In either of these cases, strict limits must be set because there is a strong tendency to stretch allowances to their limits and indeed beyond! A typical example of the problem is the organization which leases cars and sets an absolute lease cost limit of, say, £350 a month, and finds that a remarkably high proportion of employees will passionately want metallic paint on this model, which takes the leasing cost to £375. If they are then told that the limit is £350, they may complain bitterly that the company can surely afford an extra £25 a month.
Add a note hereAn increasingly common response is to let employees pay the extra - typically with a cost ceiling that might be 20 per cent about the monthly lease cost or purchase price. Some organizations set no ceilings on additions, typically those with a high proportion of young professionals who can then at least try having a Porsche for three years before moving on to a less personally costly family Volvo. If ceilings are imposed it is critical to stick to them without exception.
Add a note hereMost car fleet managers know that if they allow themselves to be swayed by these specious arguments, the level will creep up incrementally and the allocation policy will be in tatters. It can however be very hard to hold the line in times of severe market pressure. Chief executives can, and sometimes do, intervene to ensure a favoured candidate gets the car he or she wants. As we have already said, car policy demands far more boardroom time than it should. Getting top executive commitment to the imposition of firm limits each time they are reviewed can help contain abuse of policy by directors with 'special cases'.
3.  Add a note hereReplacement cycles: cars are commonly replaced every three to four years, or 60,000 to 80,000 miles, but this varies with the use and durability of the cars involved. Three years is the the most common replacement period. Salesforce cars suffer more wear and tear and therefore tend to be replaced more frequently than top executive cars, especially where annual mileages for the latter are relatively low.
4.  Add a note hereEligibility to drive: the policy on who may drive the car, eg employees/spouse/family/named drivers, is usually determined by the provisions agreed under the insurance cover negotiated. Flexibility in this area is often appreciated - especially in dual career families where the nanny or au pair needs to be insured to drive the car to get children to school and ferry them around, or where children under 25 are drivers.
5.  Add a note herePermitted fuels: All UK employers now specify that all new company cars run on unleaded petrol - for both environmental and (as the UK government intended when it reduced the tax) cost reasons. The use of alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) for fleets is also growing - again encouraged by the government.
6.  Add a note hereFleet management: the management of the car fleet involves not only selecting purchasing and disposal of cars, but also encouraging drivers to treat their cars properly so that their resale value holds up when they fall due for replacement. Fleet management may be done 'in house' or be outsourced.
Add a note hereCompany car policies are normally set out in a paper or intranet based manual for drivers that is regularly updated.

Add a note hereCompany Cars - the Future
Add a note hereNow that cars are no longer tax effective in general, an increasingly common solution is to offer employees a cash alternative to their car entitlement. Employees can then choose the combination of cash and car which best meets their personal and business needs and which is most sensible from a tax point of view. Cash alternatives also go some of the way to removing status differences and irregular jumps in employees' packages between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.
Add a note hereThe 2003 Hay Group Benefits Survey shows that 72 per cent of organizations allow employees to take a cash alternative to a job-status vehicle, and 31 per cent allow cash in lieu of a job-requirement vehicle. There is also increasing flexibility around the choice of car, with 90 per cent of organizations permitting employees to take a smaller car (either for no benefit or taking the difference as cash), and 69 per cent allowing employees to take a bigger car and pay the difference.
Add a note hereSome employers are now offering 'car ownership schemes', either instead of company cars or to employees who are not eligible for a company car. Under such schemes the employer allows the employee to buy or lease his or her own car, by providing employee loans or taxable cash allowances. As it is classed as the employee's car there is no benefit-in-kind tax paid on the car. Instead, tax is paid on the loan or allowance. This may be operated as part of a larger flexible benefits scheme 

Add a note herePrivate Petrol
Add a note hereFree private fuel remains a top and senior management benefit. It is taxable, with tax again being based on the CO2 emissions of the vehicle in question. For many company car drivers, the tax charge on free private fuel may well be higher than the value of fuel provided, and this has led to many organizations reviewing their policies.

Add a note hereCar Allowances
Add a note hereWhere cars are not provided but are used regularly for business purposes, many employers pay car allowances. These should be designed to make a sensible contribution to the cost of depreciation, maintenance and other running costs. A car used on business will inevitably need replacement earlier than one used more occasionally. Organizations such as the Automobile Association provide guidelines on running costs as a basis for setting allowances.

Add a note hereMileage Allowances
Add a note hereThe cost of fuel used on business journeys is normally reimbursed. For company cars this will be on a mileage rate which reflects the actual cost of petrol or diesel. For employees' own cars, there will be an addition to compensate for wear and tear. These rates vary both in relation to the price of fuel and market practice. They may also vary in relation to total annual business mileage. The full allowance may be payable for short journeys, but a lower allowance can apply for much longer journeys. Again, the Automobile Association figures are often used in setting the level of allowances.

Aug 14, 2010

PERSONAL NEEDS | Employee Benefits

Add a note hereHolidays
Add a note hereAnnual leave entitlements are a major benefit. Until the introduction of the European Working Time Directive in 1998, there was no statutory obligation to offer any paid holiday except for the standard bank holidays. Employers are now obliged to offer a minimum of 20 days' paid holiday per year, including bank holidays. The entitlement for holiday begins to accrue on the first day at work.
Add a note hereIn practice, most organizations have always offered annual leave well in excess of this minimum, with very few UK companies giving less than four weeks to employees at any level. Basic holiday entitlements are typically five weeks plus bank holidays, with some organizations offering up to six weeks for senior executives (who in practice may rarely have time to take full benefit of the provision) or on a service-related basis to more junior staff (although this may change as the government moves to outlaw age discrimination in the workplace, to comply with EU regulations).
Add a note hereLong entitlements may also be given in recognition of working unsociable hours or agreeing to flexible working practices. Some organizations specify minimum as well as maximum holidays, requiring employees to take one break of two weeks from their entitlement to ensure that they get away from work for at least one reasonably lengthy period a year. Many employers also need to specify when holidays can be taken, either to ensure that everybody is not off work at the same time when continuous working has to be maintained, or to ensure that everybody is off during an annual shutdown.

Add a note hereCompassionate Leave
Add a note hereGranted when close relatives are ill, or die, or to deal with other unforeseen events, compassionate leave is normally the subject of formal policy in larger employers. It is usually paid leave for a limited period and unpaid for longer periods. This provision gives the opportunity for the organization to show concern for the individual and recognition of the importance of family responsibilities at times of personal hardship. Sensitivity in dealing with requests for compassionate leave, or offering it when it is clearly necessary, can do much for employee morale - not just for the employee concerned, but for the immediate work group who see that a colleague has been well treated at a time of personal crisis.

Add a note hereMaternity Leave
Add a note hereMore women are active in the workforce, and a growing number of women choose to or have to return to work (either full or part time) after their babies are born. This reflects changing demographic patterns: the requirement for both partners to work to make ends meet where housing costs are high, the growing number of single-parent families and the fact that more women (particularly professionals) are starting families later with no intention of breaking their career. Recent surveys show that just over half of all women with pre-school children are in some form of paid employment. The nuclear family with a wife at home is a reality for only a small proportion of the population and, for better or worse, a diminishing one.
Add a note hereAll female employees are entitled to 26 weeks' 'ordinary' maternity leave, with the right to return to work on the same terms and conditions that applied before the leave, irrespective of service, hours worked, status of employment and size of the workforce. Female employees with at least 26 weeks of continuous employment by the beginning of the 14th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) are entitled to 26 weeks' additional maternity leave, which begins at the end of ordinary maternity leave.
Add a note hereWomen entitled to additional maternity leave are also entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) during ordinary maternity leave, providing average weekly earnings are equal to the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions and that sufficient notice is given. SMP is paid by the employer for 6 weeks at 90 per cent of average weekly earnings and 20 weeks at the lesser of the SMP standard rate (£100 per week as at April 2003) and 90 per cent of average weekly earnings. Women not eligible for SMP may qualify for the Maternity Allowance paid by the social security office. SMP is paid whether or not the employee intends to return to work after the birth.
Add a note hereA woman has the statutory right to continue to benefit from all contractual terms and conditions of employment during the period of ordinary maternity leave, except for wages or salary. Contractual benefits could include annual leave, public holidays missed (where the contract states that public holidays are additional to the basic leave allocation), company car and mobile phone (unless for business use only), professional subscriptions, participation in share schemes, medical, life and disability insurance and company contributions to pension schemes (which must be calculated as if the employee was working normally).
Add a note hereThere remains an area of uncertainty around profit share, bonus, incentive and commission payments. Whether payments should be made under such schemes will depend on the type of scheme, whether the scheme is included in the employment contract, and the terms and conditions of the specific scheme. Whatever the conclusion regarding a particular scheme, organizations should take care to ensure a consistent approach between employees taking the various kinds of leave - maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave.
Add a note hereThere is no statutory right for these benefits to continue during additional maternity leave, with the exception of annual leave. This must continue to accrue as per the Working Time Directive, which entitles employees to four weeks' paid leave each year.
Add a note hereIt should be noted that these are the current statutory minimum requirements. Many organizations offer enhanced maternity arrangements, such as offering full wages or salary for longer than the first 6 weeks (one engineering company has been reported as offering 52 weeks on full pay, in an effort to attract more female employees), full benefits for the period of additional maternity leave or the right to add parental leave to the end of the maternity leave period.
Add a note hereWhere employers find that they employ large numbers of women and are dependent on their skills, generous maternity leave provisions can help with long-term recruitment and retention. It can also be a very useful and cost-effective policy in areas of professional skill shortage, enabling employers to attract qualified women (providing this is achieved without infringing the sex discrimination legislation).

Add a note herePaternity Leave
Add a note hereIn April 2003, the UK introduced a statutory right to paid paternity leave. An employee is eligible for paternity leave if he expects to have responsibility for the upbringing of the baby, and is either the baby's biological father and/or the mother's husband or partner (someone who lives with the mother in an enduring family relationship). It should be noted that a female in a same-sex relationship may be eligible for paternity leave, and terms such as 'father', 'he', 'him' and 'his' should be taken as including those females who qualify.
Add a note hereFathers who have been continuously employed within an organization for at least 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the EWC are eligible for 2 weeks' paid leave on the birth or adoption of a child. Paternity leave can be taken as a two-week block, or in two one-week blocks, and has to be completed within a period of 56 days beginning on the date on which the child is born or placed for adoption.
Add a note hereTo be eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), the father must have average weekly earnings that are at least equal to the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions. SPP is paid for two weeks, and is the same as the standard rate of SMP (the lesser of £100 per week (as at April 2003) and 90 per cent of average weekly earnings). As with ordinary maternity leave, all contractual terms and conditions of employment continue through paternity leave.
Add a note hereAgain, many employers offer more generous paternity leave provisions. The 2003 Hay Group Survey of Employee Benefits found that over 60 per cent of organizations grant between 1 and 10 days' fully paid paternity leave, with most offering 3 or 5 days. IDS surveys have drawn similar conclusions.

Add a note hereParental Leave
Add a note hereThe Parental and Maternity Leave Regulations came into force on 15 December 1999. All parents of children under the age of five with more than one year's service are entitled to 13 weeks of unpaid 'parental leave' for each child (so parents of twins get 26 weeks), or 18 weeks for parents of disabled children. A parent with less than one year's service becomes entitled to parental leave after one year's service has been completed. The leave must be taken before the child's fifth birthday, unless the child is disabled or adopted. Parents of disabled children have until the 18th birthday to take the leave, while parents of adopted children must take the leave within five years of adoption or before the 18th birthday, if earlier.
Add a note hereEmployees are guaranteed to get the same job back if they take a block of leave of four weeks or less, or the same or a similar job for longer blocks of leave. A similar job must offer the same or better terms and conditions (including pay). Employers report low levels of take-up of parental leave, primarily because it is unpaid.
Add a note hereThere is a 'default agreement', which covers all companies that do not have their own leave arrangements. Under this default scheme, parents must give 21 days' notice of their intention to take parental leave (except when it is to be taken immediately after the birth or at the end of maternity leave), can take up to four weeks' leave per year, and the employer can postpone the leave, once, for up to six months (again, except when it is to be taken immediately after the birth or at the end of maternity leave).
Add a note hereAdoption Leave
Add a note hereNew regulations have also made adoption leave available from April 2003, to an adoptive parent (whether married or not) who is matched with a child under the age of 18 by an approved adoption agency that provides the employee with a certificate supporting the entitlement to leave. Leave periods and payments are similar to maternity leave, except that all paid leave will be at the standard rate of SMP, being the lower of £100 per week (as at April 2003) and 90 per cent of average weekly earnings.

Add a note hereCareer Breaks
Add a note hereA growing number of major UK employers are providing for employees (both men and women) to take up to five years off to rear children. People taking breaks are usually brought in regularly to keep up to date with developments both in their skills area and the organization in general and are entitled to return full or part time to work with no loss of job status.

Add a note hereSabbaticals
Add a note hereAlthough sabbaticals are a comparatively rare benefit in the UK, they can be a useful retention factor for professionals able to use the time to travel and update their knowledge. They may also be granted to long-serving employees either as straight leave or as time to get involved in something of value to the community. There is no set pattern to the length of leave given - it varies from a few weeks up to a year.

Add a note hereOther Leave
Add a note hereSome UK organizations have been highly imaginative in offering leave to suit employees' changing needs. For example:
§  Add a note hereIVF leave: five days' paid leave for women undergoing IVF treatment, and one and a half days for their partners;
§  Add a note hereBenidorm leave: up to three months' unpaid leave, with no loss of service, for employees who wish to take advantage of long 'winter-sun' holidays;
§  Add a note herefinance leave: employees can take one day per year to manage personal finances, through an intranet site and in-house seminars, or by visiting their financial planner, bank or building society;
§  Add a note hereChristmas leave: a half-day to 'chill out' in the pre-Christmas rush (or do the Christmas shopping); or
§  Add a note herevolunteer leave: six days' paid leave to work on charitable community ventures.

Add a note hereChildcare
Add a note hereIn order to attract or retain employees with young dependent children, employers can offer financial or practical childcare provisions. For example, companies such as the HSBC are providing workplace nurseries or crèches. Although expensive to provide, such arrangements work well where travel with a child to the workplace is relatively easy. They can pose problems where parents reject the idea of commuting with a toddler in the rush hour. Cash payments or childcare vouchers are also now being offered by a growing number of organizations to offset employee costs for childminders, nannies, or after-school babysitters.
Add a note herePractical or financial help in finding, recruiting and retaining childcare providers may be welcomed. For instance, arranging a 'nanny share' for two or three employees; retainer payments for childminders for part- time workers.
Add a note hereOther types of provision, such as flexible hours or help with transport, can ease practical problems for employee and employer, and be perceived as a benefit.

Add a note herePre-retirement Counselling
Add a note hereMany larger employers now provide a series of lectures and an information pack for employees nearing retirement. The areas typically covered are:
§  Add a note herepersonal financial planning;
§  Add a note heremanaging increased leisure time;
§  Add a note herehealth in retirement;
§  Add a note herelocal sources of information and advice.

Add a note herePersonal Financial Counselling
Add a note hereTop executives and other higher rate tax payers are not always as effective as they might be in organizing their own personal financial planning. Even finance directors able to work wonders with corporate financial policy may have little time or inclination to deal properly with family financial matters. To help with this problem and provide the necessary specialist advice, many major employers offer senior executives the chance to go to independent advisers for personal financial counselling. This should be provided by fee-charging advisers who are not going to benefit from the sale of particular financial products, ie those who typically return commissions to either the company or the individual executive where commission-earning products are bought on recommendation. The advice given usually covers areas such as:
§  Add a note heremaking a will;
§  Add a note hereinheritance and other planning;
§  Add a note hererequired insurance cover;
§  Add a note hereprovisions for dependants;
§  Add a note heresavings and investment strategy;
§  Add a note herefinance and property;
§  Add a note hereplanning for school fees;
§  Add a note heretrusts and covenants;
§  Add a note heretax planning.
Add a note hereAdvice is generally provided on a one-to-one basis once the executive has produced an inventory of his or her personal financial situation under guidance. The position is usually reviewed regularly to take account of changed personal circumstances. Companies may also offer this service to widows and widowers of employees to help them plan how best to make use of death-in-service benefits and take stock of the financial situation in which they have been left. Given that many widows of an older generation may have little idea about financial management, this can be a valuable and much-needed benefit.

Add a note herePersonal Counselling
Add a note hereTraditionally provided as part of company 'welfare' services, a new generation of personal counselling services (EAPs or Employee Assistance Programmes) has grown up among major employers. Their purpose is to help employees deal with the traumas of bereavement, divorce, elder care, alcoholism and the spectre of AIDS. Larger employers typically provide specially trained 'in-house' counsellors on a confidential basis or an outsourced counselling service. Others provide a referral service to counsellors in the community, eg Relate, Alcoholics Anonymous, etc.

Add a note hereSports and Social Facilities
Add a note hereMost employers recognize that work is also a social institution. They therefore try to provide at least some leisure activities so that colleagues can meet together outside working hours. Depending on the size, location and culture of the organization, provisions vary considerably. It may be entirely appropriate to negotiate favourable membership terms at nearby health and sports clubs. Whatever the circumstances, providing a social focus can have beneficial effects on the organization's culture (eg assisting team building) and should therefore be regularly reviewed as part of the remuneration package. It can certainly be a retention factor where staff are difficult to find and keep.

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