This week’s news in brief

Unilever’s £500m contract

Consumer goods giant Unilever is expected to award a £500m global HR outsourcing deal to consulting firm Accenture within the next month. The Anglo-Dutch group, owner of brands such as Birds Eye, Flora and Comfort, has confirmed that Accenture is the front-runner to win the contract, which covers back-office functions for Unilever’s HR, learning and procurement operations.

Ageless sabbatical

John Lewis Partnership is investing an extra £1m in a £4.8m scheme that gives long-serving employees a six-month paid sabbatical. Since 1979, staff at the retail group, who have contributed 25 years of continuous service before the age of 50, have been entitled to the benefit. In response to upcoming age discrimination legislation and a changing workforce, the retailer is to extend the scheme to include the over-50s.

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