Emap relaunches flexible benefits with free allowances and overhauls pension

Emap is to overhaul its benefits package by relaunching its flexible benefits scheme with free allowances for staff at the same time as moving to a contract-based pension from a trust-based defined contribution (DC) scheme.

The changes, which come alongside Emap’s plans to move its flex year into line with the calendar year, as reported by Employee Benefits last month, are intended to boost employees’ perceived value of their package, and join up the firm’s benefits offering.

One of the new features of Emap’s package, which is currently in development, is a free allowance which staff can take as cash, donate to charity or take as free shares, medical cover or pension contributions. Stewart Grant, group benefits manager, said that it was intended to offer staff perks that would be valuable to them. He added that free shares may not always be relevant for staff as the scheme has a three-year vesting period and the nature of the media industry means turnover can be high.

All changes to the package will take effect from 1 January. Emap’s new flex scheme will be provided by Lloyds TSB Registrars, a change from Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Emap also hopes to use targeted communications to highlight benefits that are relevant to individuals, for example, by writing to parents about childcare vouchers when they return from maternity leave. “Not only will we have targeted information, but also timed information,” explained Grant.

From October, the company will also move from a defined contribution (DC) trust-based pension scheme to a DC contract-based plan, and give staff the opportunity to make contributions through salary sacrifice.

From 1 October, all new joiners to the company will be offered the new scheme, while all other employees will be offered the chance to join from 1 January next year. Emap’s existing pension scheme will close to company contributions at the end of the year.

The design of the new scheme has yet to be finalised, but the contribution levels will remain at least the same as the firm’s current plan, which increase with service.

The new pension scheme will be provided by Johnson Fleming, which is a change from Emap’s current provider Capita.