With the last decade having spanned Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments, legislative changes catalysing HR policy shifts have come thick and fast. But Pearlfinders clients have been among the first to be briefed on the practical implications - and new business opportunities - stemming from these legal and policy adjustments. Other industry analysts may claim to have done the same, but our recommendations have been based on comments from the HR Directors themselves…


The Apprenticeship Levy

Months ahead of the Apprenticeship Levy’s coming into effect, Pearlfinders clients were exclusively briefed on the implications HR budget-holders anticipated on their business. Our subscribers have gone on to win new business meetings and guide UK blue chips through this step change in entry-level recruitment.

21st April 2016 - Head of Learning & Talent Development - Mitchells & Butlers
‘Her main focus for this calendar year will be the Apprenticeship Levy, which is currently an unknown factor for the business, as she doesn’t know the precise details…the company knows the costs but doesn’t know how it will structure claiming back money from the government…the company will require third party advice on this, even if the course is handled in-house.’

7th December 2016 - Head of Talent - Dairy Crest Group
‘In terms of the Apprenticeship Levy, the team is figuring out how to make the most out of the Levy. She is keen to assess how the team can make the most of the funding to skill up existing staff, including the 18-24 year old apprentices it already employs.’


Restrictions to Salary Sacrifice Benefits

November 2016’s Autumn Statement - the inaugural by Chancellor Phillip Hammond - was a shock to employers and staff who’d until then been enjoying increasingly flexible options when it came to salary sacrifice benefits. But some savvy HR Directors had been anticipating this legislative shift sooner; and Pearlfinders clients were out booking exploratory new business meetings ahead of the statement by the Treasury.

6th September 2016 - Head of Pensions & Benefits - WS Atkins
‘New options will need to be continually added to the offering. Complicating this are changes to salary sacrifice provision as a result of the 2017 Finance Bill. The company is keen to bring on consultancy to help the team analyse the implications for its package and plan for the future.’

12th July 2016 - Reward Director - Virgin Media
‘The company currently offers a lot of salary sacrifice options, including car schemes. However, because of current uncertainty around potential legislative change related to such programmes, the team is uncertain about how to best move forward with its strategy.'


Pensions Auto-Enrolment

The transition of all UK workers into an auto-enrolled pension scheme has been touted for upwards of a decade, and been in implementation stage for five years now. Since the launch of Pearlfinders HR in 2010, subscribers have had access to exclusive comment on pension scheme shake-ups, with new business wins for both scheme administrators themselves and consultancies to support associated communications pieces.

6th November 2014 - Head of Reward & Benefits - TNT UK
‘His current focus is the upcoming statutory staging date for the introduction of an auto-enrolment pension scheme, which passes in April 2015…he has looked at a number of salary-sacrifice options and is considering the possibility of procuring a scheme from a new pension provider.’


Introduction of the Living Wage

2016’s Budget saw the introduction of the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour. Since then, opportunities have abounded for reward consultancies to guide HR departments on appropriate remuneration policies and pay structures. But Pearlfinders clients were briefed months earlier by canny departmental heads anticipating this shift: -

11th December 2015 - Mitchells & Butlers - Director of Compensation & Benefits
‘In many ways, the increasing minimum wage will level the playing field between competitors in the sector – as those companies now paying above minimum wage have been caught up by the rest of the pack following the legislation change.'

4th November 2015 – Mothercare – Reward Manager
‘The business is focusing primarily on how to respond to the impending increase to the minimum wage, and the repercussions this will have on the business model of the company.’