FRANCE - The European Commission (EC) has launched an investigation into the way France Télécom's pension scheme for state employees was financed following its privatisation in 1997.
Investigators will look at whether the retirement benefit burden, which France Télécom claimed was excessive, was unfairly relaxed by the government which exempted the company from paying social security contributions against the unemployment risk of its public sector employees, since their jobs were guaranteed by the state.
This reduction in retirement costs and exemption from social security contributions was felt by the complainant to have constituted 'incompatible state aid', although the French government has argued the measure simply removed 'a structural disadvantage' to France Télécom and as such did not breach EU rules.
Neelie Kroessaid, competition commissioner, EC, said: "While we welcome structuralised reforms designed to assist incumbent monopolists in adapting to a liberalised market, we must ensure that these reforms do not distort competition between operators to an extent contrary to the common interest."
Ex-BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been ordered to pay a total of £87,000 in fines and court costs after he was found guilty of failing to provide The Pensions Regulator (TPR) with information.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said it while believes in the benefits of consolidating defined benefit (DB) schemes, there are significant issues to overcome.
There is just one week left to register to enter the Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards 2018.
Nearly a third (32%) of employers believe new technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, will play a part in benefits communications, latest research from Aon Employee Benefits reveals.