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Employers Can Help Carers By Enhancing Benefits

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Employers Can Help Carers By Enhancing Benefits
  • More than three million employees are juggling caring for family with work
  • Employee benefit consultants support developing new benefits for carers                                                                                                                                    

Employers can enhance their employee value proposition by taking steps to help employees struggling with long-term caring responsibilities for family members, new research1from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

The most popular way to support employees is increased working from home, which 60% of employee benefits consultants cited as important, while 59% believe flexible working options which are already available to staff can help.

Other ideas that would be supported by employee benefit consultants include offering rights to paid short-term leave in employment contracts to help workers who are carers for elderly relatives. Around two out of five (43%) employee benefit consultants would support new rights while one in three (33%) want the group risk industry to develop specific benefits.

Analysis2 shows around three million workers cope with full-time work and looking after relatives with up to one in five forced to give up their jobs leading to a knock-on effect on their finances, their employers and the economy as a whole.

Experts warn that the numbers balancing caring responsibilities with work could grow to as many as nine million over the next 20 years.

MetLife is campaigning on the issue and has launched a report, A Behavioural Approach to Employee Financial Wellness,focusing on how employers can support staff suffering financial stress and balancing caring responsibilities with full-time work.

The report recommends that employers engage with benefit providers to design financial wellbeing programmes and outlines the business case for helping employees to be engaged and satisfied at work.

Research among consultants shows that there is a growing awareness that employers need to invest in supporting staff with caring responsibilities. Around 33% believe the right to paid long-term leave would help while 27% believe employers should offer financial help to employees with caring responsibilities.

Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK said: “More than three million employees already balance work with looking after elderly relatives and that number will only grow as the population ages.

“There is a potential cost for employers if staff need to take time off or even have to give up work.  Making changes now so that employees know there is support available may prove invaluable in the long-run. Our research shows employee benefits are increasingly valued by staff and providing the option of support for caring responsibilities would enhance that.

“The group risk industry can support employers and employees and look at new products or additions which can help address the issue. Employee assistance programmes providing counselling are a step in the right direction and ideas highlighted by EBCs could be considered.”

MetLife’s Group Income Protection proposition includes a Wellbeing Hub offering confidential health and wellness services for employees and their families and tailored data insight reports to help pinpoint potential risks and issues with employee health and wellness. Line managers can access dedicated support to enable them to address day-to-day workplace challenges.

MetLife is established as the UK’s third largest Group Life provider by the number of schemes it insures3 and the sixth largest Group Income provider by premium. It has generated significant market momentum through its focus on customer needs, innovative propositions, a culture of continuous improvement. and a commitment to building strong partnerships.

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support – The Sunday Times

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support - The Sunday Times 1

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to increase a tax on business to pay for an extension to COVID-19 support schemes in the budget next month, The Sunday Times reported https://bit.ly/3ujaBcU.

Sunak, in his speech on March 3, will announce he is increasing corporation tax from 19 pence in the pound and will outline a pathway where it rises to 23 pence in the pound by the time of the next general election, the report said. The move will raise an expected 12 billion pounds ($16.8 billion) a year, the report added.

According to the report, at least 1 pence is set to be added to the bill for business from this autumn, at a cost to business of 3 billion pounds, with further rises in subsequent years.

Allies of Sunak clarified he would not increase corporation tax higher than 23%.

These measures will be helpful in paying for an extension to the furlough scheme, VAT cuts and business support loans until at least August.

Unlike the 2010 Conservative-led government, which pursued spending cuts to rebalance the economy after the global financial crisis, Sunak is expected to defer most of the toughest decisions about how to pay for that support in his budget speech.

“The corporation tax hike will be higher than expected and the extension of the support schemes will be longer than most people expect,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Insiders indicated the stamp duty holiday on property purchases would also be extended in line with the other coronavirus support measures, the report said.

Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.

($1 = 0.7136 pounds)

 

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

 

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Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

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Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 2

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 3

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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