E.On informs staff about childcare and pension reforms

EXCLUSIVE: E.On has been educating its 11,000 employees about shared parental leave, the forthcoming changes to tax-free childcare policy and what the newly implemented pension freedoms mean for them.

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The energy organisation sent out emails to its employees about its parental leave policy, as well as placing a summary on its intranet. Under the new rules, eligible staff are entitled to share up to 50 weeks’ leave during the first year after their child is born or adopted.

In addition, communications explaining how different groups of employees may be better off in the tax-free scheme or the existing childcare voucher scheme, provided by Edenred, were also sent out to staff.

Employees were encouraged to sign-up to the existing childcare scheme to maximise their choice when the government launches the new tax-free scheme this autumn.

E.On tied the communications in with its annual flexible benefits enrolment window, which took place throughout February and March 2015. 

Ant Donaldson, global product expert, benefits at E.On, said: “Our flexible [benefits] enrolment was the main opportunity this year for employees to join our childcare voucher scheme ahead of the government’s new tax-free childcare, so they can maximise their available choices when the new scheme comes in.

“We took the opportunity to communicate this in short emails and intranet stories, and were delighted that childcare voucher take-up jumped from 9% to 13% of our workforce. We plan to communicate more about the new scheme closer to its launch date.”

In terms of the pension freedoms that came into effect on 6 April, E.On communicated about the new options to members of its defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, which E.on runs and administers itself, who were due to reach retirement age in five years or under, via email.

Members of the DC scheme, provided by Fidelity, will be sent a series of letters from the provider, outlining what point they should be at with their retirement savings and preparation, during the last five years before their chosen retirement date.

Donaldson said: “[Our DC pension communications] are designed to make choosing which path to take as easy as possible.

“We’re passionate about helping staff get the most of our pension and benefit schemes and the new pension freedoms are no exception.

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“We want our employees to make informed choices and not be put off by the apparent complexities, so we always try to demystify our schemes by sending out high-level information in plain English and sign-posting other resources available to help staff make the right choices for them.”