Webinar: What’s missing in today’s employee wellbeing programmes?

Wednesday 18th April 2018 – 10:00 – 10:20

Our research has shown that:

• 93% of people have experienced at least one consumer rights/legal problem*
• 54% of problems are left unresolved*
• 43% of people feel frustrated; 36% feel angry*
• 59% do not have a Will*

What can employers do to help employees deal with legal problems and minimise stress and absences from work?

Find out during our latest 20-minute webinar when we will explain how a legal services benefit can play an important role in the provision of more well-rounded wellbeing programmes that are relevant to a multi-generational workforce.

Register here.

We do hope you can join us, but if you can’t and would like to learn more about our legal services benefit, please don’t hesitate to email or phone on 020 8731 2424.

* Epoq survey of 2,002 consumers conducted by Opinium, May 2017

Increasing the engagement of older employees: how a legal services benefit can help

Recent figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK now has more than 10 million workers aged fifty and above1; a figure likely to increase over the years as the age at which people can take their state pensions rises.

What does this mean for employers keen to keep their workforce motivated, engaged and loyal?

Key facts:

• The UK now has more than 10 million workers aged fifty and above1
• By the middle of the 2020s it is projected that one-in-three workers will be aged 50 and above. In 1992 it was one-in-five2
• Of the 10 million over-50 workers, 1.2 million are aged 65 and above. In 1992 there were fewer than 500,0001
• Just 15% of people aged between 55 to 64 and 23% of aged 65+ have made a power of attorney3
• Nearly half (43%) of people aged between 55 to 64 and 63% of those aged 45 to 54 have not made a will3
• Just 3% of people aged between 55 to 64 and 4% of aged 65+ have made a living will3

Increasingly, employers are using benefits as way to both attract and retain high-performing employees. This is especially true where wages have remained static or there are high levels of competition within job sectors.

Over the years, the range of benefits being offered to employees has expanded and now include services designed to help workforces stay healthy, both physically and mentally. In addition to the more established benefits such as pensions, company cars and private medical insurance, many employers now offer counselling services, gym membership, free fruit and mindfulness sessions, to name just a few. Financial advice, too, has become a more prevalent benefit as the impact of employee financial hardship on workplace productivity has been recognised.

However, employers are also beginning to recognise that tailoring benefits to the needs of employees at specific points in their lives is crucial if rates of engagement are to be improved. Our own research3 revealed a variance in the level importance attached to certain benefits according to the age of employees. For example, 92% of employees aged between 18 and 24 valued gym membership, whereas only 40% of those aged 55 to 64 did. And, as you’d expect 63% of employees aged between 25 and 34 valued childcare vouchers, but only 9% of those aged 55 to 64 did.

The same survey showed that access to legal advice and help creating legal documents, such as wills was rated highly across all age groups, perhaps reflected in the low numbers of survey respondents who had made a will (41%), power of attorney (12%) or living will (5%).

The need for legal services tends to increase with age, as older people start to think about the future and how to protect their interests and those of their families. An employee in their 50s, for example, could have dependent children, as well as aging parents who need help sorting out their financial and legal affairs. And, as people live longer and the number affected by diseases such as dementia grow, the need to have legal documents such as lasting powers of attorney or living wills in place, becomes more urgent.

Giving employees in this situation easy access to services which help them plan ahead and safeguard their interests with documents such as wills, powers of attorney, trusts or living wills, can help to increase engagement with a benefits scheme and build loyalty to the employer. And, when these services are made available via an online portal, employers will benefit from reduced absences from work, as well as less stressed employees.

For more information about our legal services benefit, please email or call us on 020 8731 2424.

Sources
1 ONS Labour Market Statistic, 24 January 2018
2 Aviva/ONS
3 Epoq Consumer Needs Research, 2017

10 reasons to offer an online will writing service

Most people know that a will is an important legal document, but many put off making one because the fear the process is going to be complex, time consuming and costly. Epoq’s online will writing service is available as an add-on to an insurance or other consumer product and offers a simple, stress-free and cost-effective way to make a will. Below is some feed-back from users of our service:

“I’m so happy I have sorted out my will. I didn’t think it could be so straight forward.”

“Very efficient, easy to use service. l’m delighted to have finally got my will sorted.”

“Encouraged me to finally write my will.”

“A great service available for amazing value for money. We needed simple mirror wills, which would have cost much more if we had to use a solicitor. Very happy that we included this service in our house insurance policy.”

“I was unsure to start with but the online process was very easy to follow and gave relevant advice as required to ensure the questions were answered correctly.”

“I have been needing to rewrite our will for a while now but it is quite daunting. Using this facility was far less intimidating.”

“Took the negative emotion out of writing a will.”

“Great. Feel really reassured I have my will sorted how I want it. Great peace of mind for me.”

“I was delighted to use the service without having to go to a solicitor. I decided there and then not to put off any longer making my will and I feel happy that it is now done and legal. Thank you!”

“A very easy way to save both time and money and get peace of mind knowing that your family will have no trouble knowing your wishes at a very stressful time.”

To find out more about our online will writing service, simply email us or call on 020 8731 2424.

10 reasons to give insurance customers access to an online legal service

The results of our latest customer satisfaction survey are in and, once again, show how much value policyholders attach to our online legal service when provided as an addition to their policy.

This is what they told us:

“A good service it encourages me to renew my policy.”

“Great add on service to my insurance.”

“It really is a fantastic benefit of being a [insurer] customer. Thank you kindly.”

“I have continued to renew [insurer] for a number of years due to the services available from the Legal Documents section.”

“Fantastic service, will definitely stay with [insurer] because of this service.”

“A phenomenal service as part of an essential insurance product.”

“I thought it was the best thing about the policy – added bonus it was free.”

“Very nice additional free service which saves the customer money and time.”

“A great service available for amazing value for money. Very happy that we included this service in our house insurance policy.”

“Very helpful and the fact it’s included in the price of your insurance is great. Thank you.”

To find out more about our value-add legal services, please emaill us or call on 020 8731 2424.

The government’s Good Work Plan – business as usual for the time being

You may recall that last July (2017), Matthew Taylor published a Government-commissioned review called ‘Good Work’ which included numerous suggestions as to how our working lives could be improved.

The Government has now responded with a press release that they’ve called a ‘Good Work plan’. In particular, the Government says that vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay entitlement will be enforced for the first time, that it will produce a list of day-one rights – including holiday and sick-pay – and that all workers will have a right to request a more ‘stable contract’. It also says it will introduce a new naming and shaming scheme for employers who don’t pay employment tribunal awards and it will quadruple tribunal fines for spiteful employers. Precisely how these changes will be implemented is not clear from this press release.

Consultations

In addition, the Government has announced consultations on:

1. enforcement of employment rights
2. changes to the rights of agency workers
3. measures to increase transparency in the UK market
4. employment status

Employment status

Focusing briefly on that last consultation – employment status – you may recall that at the time of the Taylor review this received much attention in courts and tribunals, as well as in the media. It was on this that topic that we hoped for greater clarity in the law. Well, for the time being the law remains as it’s been for some time. Very briefly:

• Broadly speaking, there are three categories: self-employed; employee; and worker, which is in between the other two.
• Legislation gives little detail about the definitions, but tribunal and court judgments have added detail.
• Several factors are relevant in determining a person’s employment status, for example the degree of control exercised by the employer over the work and whether they have a right to send someone else to do the work instead of them. The Government provides further assistance on this website.

Using the right documents

Changes to the law on employment status could affect your choices and your documents. For example, you may have to update consultancy contracts and employment contracts, in particular zero-hours contracts. And you might have to change someone from one contract to another contract in accordance with the new definitions. To illustrate the importance of the matter, there was a case on that recently that established that if a worker isn’t given paid annual leave because the employer wrongly believes they’re self-employed, the employer may have to pay many years’ annual leave on termination of the employment contract.

But nothing’s changed with this press-release, and when it does we’ll let you know. And, perhaps more importantly; we have document templates covering relevant documents (such as the three examples above) which we’ll keep updated if the law changes.

Raphael Prais is a content lawyer at Epoq Legal Ltd.

If you would like more information about our legal advice and document services for SMEs, please email us or call on 020 8731 2424.

Legal changes – what businesses should expect in 2018

In December last year, we provided some New Year’s resolutions for employers. But it’s not just employment law that changes. Here we outline some of the other key legal changes we’d suggest you prepare for.

Failing to prevent tax evasion

This new offence came into force on 30 September 2017, and makes businesses vicariously liable for tax evasion by employees as well as the business’s agents and others providing services. It doesn’t necessarily matter whether or not you were aware of what was going on. However, it is a defence if you can show that you have in place reasonable prevention procedures.

The HMRC finalised guidance on the new offences last September, and included a section aimed at SMEs. They suggest, for example, conducting a risk assessment, providing training in tax evasion and having robust whistleblowing reporting procedures. Exactly how extensive should your procedures be? It’s hard to say until we have evidence of HMRC’s prosecutions, but we’ll endeavour to keep you informed.

Small Business Commissioner’s complaint handling service

According to the Government, a third of payments to small businesses in the UK are late, and a fifth of small businesses have encountered cash flow problems as a result. For this reason, on 20 December 2017 the Government launched this complaint handling service with the aim of helping small businesses to deal with late payments.

Ban on surcharges

If you’re a retailer, perhaps in the past you charged customers more for payments made using credit or debit cards. Well that became unlawful on 13 January 2018.

If you’ve just paid your tax bill, you may have noticed one high-profile effect of this law: HMRC used to charge 0.5% for credit card payments, but it no longer accepts them at all. The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that small businesses may not be able to absorb the extra costs so may stop accepting such payments. Note that you can continue to set a lower limit on card payments.

Open borders for online content

This update is likely to affect you as customers, but if you provide online services it also may require that you make changes.

From 20 March 2018, providers of paid-for online content in their member state (e.g. the United Kingdom) must be allowed to access and use their home subscription while ‘temporarily present’, e.g. on holiday, in another member state. This means that whilst on a business trip, you’ll be able to watch Netflix on your home subscription.

In addition, the European Commission has announced agreement on legislation to end ‘geo-blocking’, restricting traders’ rights to block access to websites or redirect them to another website. This legislation is expected by the end of the 2018.

Energy efficiency standards

As of 1 April 2018, nearly all landlords of both domestic and business properties will have to ensure their properties reach an Energy Performance Certificate rating of at least E before granting new tenancy agreements, whether to new or existing tenants.

Gas safety and chemical registration

The EU’s new Gas Appliances Regulation will be enforceable from 21 April 2018. As a ‘regulation’ (as opposed to a ‘directive’) it will come into force immediately on that date throughout the EU. Amongst other things, this regulation brings more products into its remit and requires that manufacturers conduct risk assessments for their gas appliances and fittings.

The final deadline under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is fast approaching – by 1 June 2018, if you manufacture or import (from outside of the EU) just 1 tonne/year of chemicals, you’ll have to register with the European Chemicals Agency, which is based in Helsinki.

Data protection

We covered the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect on 25 May 2018, in our previous article. Whilst we don’t wish to summarise it again, the GDPR remains the biggest item on the legal agenda. It requires, for example, extra scrutiny of the personal information you hold and your reasons for holding it, and the communication of considerably more detailed privacy notices than was previously required.

Brexit?

You’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly what the legal landscape will look like after Brexit, with some politicians demanding full-scale burning of the rule books, other suggesting subtler changes. But don’t worry, we’ll be updating you and our legal documents as the need arises.

Raphael Prais is a content lawyer at Epoq Legal Ltd.

If you would like more information about our legal advice and document services for SMEs, please email us or call on 020 8731 2424.

Employment law – 2018 changes in a nutshell

Time for some New Year’s resolutions? As an employer, you’ll need keep on top of the forthcoming changes to employment law if you are to avoid claims or damage to your reputation. To help you prepare, I’ve listed some of the key changes that are likely to affect your business in 2018. Read on to find out more.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Let’s start with the biggest and most anticipated: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, endearingly referred to as the GDPR, will come into force on 25 May 2018. The key points are:

• Nearly all businesses will have to update are their privacy notices.
• When processing employees’ data, it would be unwise now to rely on consent – many employment lawyers already advise against that under the Data Protection Act 1998.
• Data processors, as well as data controllers, will have direct obligations.
• Some organisations will have to appoint a Data Protection Officer.
• Fines for non-compliance are expected to increase.

Immigration

There’ll be some immigration law changes on 11 January 2018. Overall these are thought to be favourable for both the workers and their employers. Perhaps the most beneficial change for employers is that they’ll be able to sponsor a foreign student as soon as they complete their studies, rather than waiting for their results to be published.

These changes aren’t to be confused with the new Immigration Bill, which is due to have its first reading in January but is focused on establishing a post-Brexit immigration policy.

And, as usual, a number of changes will take effect in April 2018. Notably:

Gender pay gap reporting

By 4 April 2018, any business employing at least 250 employees must publish their first gender pay gap report. This must include specified information relating to the difference between pay of the males and females in their business.

And what will happen if you fail to publish your report? The Equality and Human Rights Commission is consulting on that issue right now. If you wish to have your say, the deadline’s 2 February 2018.

Taxation

Taxation of termination payments will be changing. In particular:

• For taxation purposes, all notice pay will be treated as earnings. That means they must be taxed as earnings, irrespective of the £30,000 threshold for taxation of termination payments – currently, a somewhat confusing distinction is made between contractual and non-contractual notice pay.
• Note that, a year later in April 2019, treatment of tax and of secondary National Insurance contributions of termination payments is set to be aligned. That means that NICs will be due on termination payments above £30,000. (You may have read that this change would also take effect in April 2018, but it has been postponed.)

Statutory rates

As usual, statutory rates for numerous matters will increase in April. For example, the National Living Wage will increase to £7.83/hour and Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Shared Parental Pay will increase from £140.98 to £145.18/week (or 90% of average earnings if lower).

Tax-free child care

As you’re probably aware, the Government recently introduced a new system of tax-free childcare. Consequently, the childcare voucher system is being phased out and will be closed to new entrants on 6 April 2018.

Changes to be decided

Of course, there’ll be further changes during the year which are not yet fixed. In particular, there’ll be court judgments that may change the law. A few important ones are:

• Definition of a ‘worker’

In February 2018, the Supreme Court is due to consider the case of Pimlico Plumbers v Smith, which, following a tumultuous 2017, may clarify the meaning of ‘worker’ – i.e. that class of people that are neither truly self-employed nor employed under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The Court of Appeal ruled that Gary Smith was a worker, but the Supreme Court may disagree. And sometime later in the year, the Court of Appeal will consider Uber’s appeal about the status of two of its taxi-drivers and the Government is expected to provide a response to the Taylor Review on the same subject.

King v Sash Windows: this case should now return from the ECJ to the UK’s Court of Appeal to apply to UK law. From the ECJ’s judgment, we know that if you incorrectly classify a worker as self-employed, then over several years they may accrue copious annual leave for which they must be paid in lieu if their employment with you ends. What we need clarification on is whether this conflicts with the UK’s two-year limit on claims for past holiday pay and the rule that a three-month break between periods of holiday means that early periods cannot be claimed for.

• Parental leave

Do you pay mothers on maternity leave more than the statutory minimum? And what about fathers taking shared parental leave? If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, employment tribunals have given conflicting judgments on whether that’s legal. We’re hoping that Employment Appeal Tribunal decisions early in 2018 will iron out inconsistencies.

• Equality Act

And, on 1 May 2018 the ‘gay cake case’ will be heard by the Supreme Court, sitting in Northern Ireland for the first time. The question they’ll be considering is – is it against the Equality Act 2010 to refuse to serve a cake that endorses gay marriage? The question can be extended to other products and other concerns that are related to characteristics protected by the Equality Act.

Raphael Prais is a content lawyer at Epoq Legal Ltd.

If you would like more information about our legal advice and document services for SMEs, please email us or call on 020 8731 2424.

Epoq Legal’s 2017 Activity Round-up

As 2017 draws to a close, we’re pleased to provide a round-up of Epoq’s research, whitepapers, articles and other activities which you may have missed during the year. Just click on the links below to read more. And, if you’d like to discuss any of the services or topics featured, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2018!

Whitepapers

Legal wellbeing: the missing piece of a fully-rounded wellbeing programme?

Wellbeing programmes have become central to the benefit schemes of many employers today and are designed to increase employee engagement, productivity and loyalty. But is there a missing piece to a fully-rounded wellbeing programme?

Download the paper here

The FCA’s transparency at renewal rules – a threat or an opportunity?

In April 2017, the FCA introduced new measures to increase the transparency of information provided to policyholders at renewal. In our whitepaper, we discuss the impact of the new rules and suggest ways in which insurers can respond and benefit in the longer term.

Download the paper here

Research

Experience of consumer rights problems in the UK

Consumer rights problems can occur during a number of everyday activities – renovating a property, shopping or going on holiday. Often not covered by insurance, these problems can result in stress and financial losses. Our survey revealed the range and frequency of problems consumers face.

Read the findings here

What benefits do employees value in the most?

In May 2017, we engaged research company, Opinium to survey the benefits most highly valued by employees. In all, 2002 people completed the survey and the results indicated a high-level of need and appreciation by employees of protection insurance and legal services.

Read the findings here

Who’s made a Will?

As part of our employee benefits survey, we also asked the respondents if they had made a Will. The results revealed that a worrying number of people are putting the financial security of their families at risk by not having a Will.

Read the findings here

Webinar

Legal wellbeing: the missing piece of a truly holistic wellbeing programme?

Presented by Andrew Walker, commercial director at Epoq in May and September 2017.

Download the presentation here

Guides & Demos

During 2017, we produced some new guides and video demonstrations of our products and services. Click on the links below to access them.

Making a Will with Legal for Life

Are you at risk of legal disputes? Take the Legal for Life Health Check

Legal for Life – a guide for insurers

A guide to online legal document and advice services for SMEs

Epoq in the News

Below are links to some press coverage achieved during 2017.
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Whitepaper: What’s missing in today’s employee wellbeing programmes?

Wellbeing programmes have become central to the benefit schemes of many employers today. Often including health insurance, medical services, counselling and gym membership, these programmes are designed to increase employee engagement, productivity and loyalty.

But are there any additional services that could be included to create a more rounded wellbeing programme?

In our latest whitepaper, we explain how a legal services benefit could enhance a wellbeing programme and give greater value to employees and their families. We also reveal the findings of our research into the benefits employees value the most.

Download the paper now

If you’d like to know more or discuss any of the issues the paper raises, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Looking to extend your range of employee benefits in 2018?

If so, visit us on Stand 814 at Employee Benefits Live, where we’ll be showcasing our innovative online employee benefit, Legal for Life.

We’ll also be giving away copies of our latest whitepaper, which includes findings from our survey of the benefits most valued by today’s employees.

If you’d like to book at time to meet our product experts at the stand, just email us with a suggested time. Otherwise, please just come along when it suits you.

If you’re not going to the exhibition, but would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.