Firms listen to employees’ call for pensions

More
than a fifth of firms have introduced some form of contributory pension scheme
for their employees over the past year, according to research.

Virgin
Direct’s second annual survey of workplace perks reveals that the number of
firms offering a pension with contributions increased from 26 per cent last
year to 48 per cent of firms in 2001.

The
survey also shows that 89 per cent of UK workers believe that a pension their
employer pays into is the most important staff benefit.

Gordon
Maw, of Virgin Direct, thinks the increase in the number of companies paying into
staff pensions is because of new rules on stakeholder pensions which are due to
come into force next month.

He
said, "For the second year running, UK workers have put a pension paid
into by their employer at the top of their wish-list and, happily, bosses are
getting the message as 22 per cent more firms are doing just that compared to a
year ago.

"Although
legally all firms employing five or more staff have to offer workers a pension
scheme by 8 October, companies don’t have to pay into them so the fact that
employers are putting their hands in their pockets is tremendous news for
employees."

The
study shows that requests for family friendly benefits at work appear to be
largely unheeded.

More
than half of all employees want crèche facilities, but only 3 per cent have
them, and 69 per cent of staff would like paid paternity leave but only 24 per
cent receive it.

Eight
out of 10 employees would like to be able to work flexible hours, yet this is
only provided by 57 per cent of companies.

More
than 60 per cent of workers would like to take a career break or a sabbatical
but only 13 per cent of firms offer this.

The
survey was based on responses from more than 500 companies and 600 employees.

By
Ben Willmott

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