Reminder - Pension Reform: Are you ready for Automatic Enrolment?

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

August 25 2015

According to a Freedom of Information request to The Pensions Regulator, 8,000 employers could have already missed their staging date. The Pensions Act 2008 introduced new duties for employers to, by law, assess and enroll their workers into a workplace pension scheme that meets certain standards as of the employer’s assigned staging date. If you are yet to reach your staging date (the date which your auto-enrolment duties commence) or are unsure of your staging date, there are a number of items you will need to consider in preparation. A few of which are listed below: Confirm the staging date with The Pension Regulator. Make sure you know your staging date!  You can check your staging date through The Pension Regulators website using your PAYE reference number. Fines of up to £50,000 can be imposed for non-compliance. Commence planning at least 6 months in advance. Do not leave planning until the last minute. The legislation can be complex to understand fully. Ensure that enough time and resource is factored in to understand the legislation, review your timescales, understand and make key decisions within the business. Review existing pension schemes in use to determine whether they meet the minimum requirements and are suitable for automatic enrolment purposes. Your pension scheme provider will be able to advise whether a scheme meets the minimum criteria. Contractual verses Automatic Enrolment. Contractual enrolment requires the worker’s consent to join the pension scheme which is often obtained via the terms of the worker’s employment contract (this includes the authority to deduct pension contributions from the worker’s salary). Automatic enrolment does not require the worker’s consent to join the pension scheme. Will you be applying a postponement period? Every employer has the right to apply a postponement period up to a maximum of 3 months from the staging date, or from the employee’s employment start date. Administrative methods. Will you be administering the new pension requirements manually or do you have a payroll system provider or pension provider who has developed additional tools to assist their customers? For further advice on Automatic Enrolment and how it may impact your business then call the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772. 

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