Auto Enrolment

The Pensions Regulator report 2013-14

 
The year in review by the Pensions regulator 2013-14
The Pensions Regulator report 2013-14 has been released and it makes for some good reading. If you want a copy of the overview please click the following link tPR report 2013-14 overview or for the full annual report

I am just going to talk about the Auto Enrolment side of things:

Over 10,500 employers registered
3,200,000 workers were enrolled into qualifying schemes
99% of employers were compliant without the need for tPR to step in
Only 14 compliance notices were issued

Great, that is a good start….but what about the remaining 1,100,000 or so employers to go.
As the number of employers reaching their staging date increases, tPR by necessity is going to need to automate more of their processes. This will mean more letters, warnings and compliance notices. For example if you have not made your declaration of compliance (which is the artist formally known as registration) within 5 months after your staging date, 4 weeks after this a letter will be sent – no one will call to see how you are, how they can help, what you need to do – which is what happened with the large companies… 4 weeks after this an employer could be looking at a fine – potentially, I say potentially because tPR has stated that it will try to help, but with the sheer numbers of employers all staging at the same time (on average 40,000 employers from mid 2015 unitl 2018!) I do not see how they will be able to manage.

This is just one example of why you need to get things moving early and avoid the capacity crunch.
Simply Enrolment: AE  Ready
TAP Assist has just launched a “solution in a box” called AE Ready; It is a very […]

Employment Law and Auto Enrolment Seminars June 2014

TAP Assist and Peninsula Business Services Seminars
Our partnership with Peninsula Business Services continues to flourish as the worlds of Employment Law and Auto Enrolment are inextricably linked. There are factors within Auto Enrolment which necessitate employment contracts being reviewed and possibly changed and we are therefore continuing our work with Peninsula in holding joint free seminars for business owners and Directors.

If you would like to attend or know anyone who would be interested, we are appearing over the next couple of weeks at the following venues (all 9.30 am coffee for 10.am start with a 12.30 finish):-

18th June, CEME Conference Centre, Rainham, RM13 8EU
20th June, Marriott Bexleyheath, DA6 7JZ
23rd June, Chase Lodge House, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 4AS
23rd June, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8XL
25th June, Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline, KY11 8DY
26th June, Dynamic Earth Centre, Edinburgh EH8 8AS

You can register as follows:-
Email: Events@Peninsula-UK.com

Phone: 0844 892 2771

Text: RSVP to 60777

Website: http://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com/events/

Top ten tips for registering with the Pensions Regulator

Top ten tips Top ten tips for registering with the Pensions Regulator
1. Make sure you’re prepared – download the check list http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/automatic-enrolment-online-registration-checklist.PDF  you will need to fill in all the information  please see our blog on how Dunlm got it wrong http://tapassist.co.uk/auto-enrolment-mistakes/

2. It is your responsibility as an employer to be compliant – having the pension scheme in place will not be enough…

3. Start ahead of time with information you already know – your progress will be saved on line

4. To re-access a saved registration, you’ll need to know the Employer pension scheme reference (EPSR), Pension scheme registry number (PSR) or unique NEST ID entered.

5. Complete registration when you have completed the automatic enrolment of your eligible jobholders

6. You can act on behalf of a number of employee please hit the ‘acting on behalf of an employer’ button

7. You must treat each employer separately if you have more than one employer within your group

8. The Pensions Regulator only want to know about pension schemes that have been used for automatic enrolment.

9. Make sure you know about and tell us about every PAYE scheme the employer uses.

10. There is a video that can help you available on the following link: http://livegroup.co.uk/registration

TAP Assist has recently launched Simply Enrolment: Simply Enrolment is a DIY solution that will guide you or your clients through the workplace pensions reform (Auto Enrolment) legislation.

For more information please see the www.simplyenrolment.co.uk

Who is a UK worker under Auto Enrolment rules?

Wholly or ordinarily working in UK
TAP Assist look at what is a UK worker as per the Auto Enrolment legislation. TAP Assist has had a number of meetings with the Pensions Regulator and they are keen to get across this understanding. So please find some information that was supplied to us from the Pensions Regulator.

 
A worker can be considered to be wholly working in the UK*:

If a worker’s contract specifies that the work is to be done in the UK; or
If they are an “offshore worker” and work in the territorial waters of the UK
(or in the UK sector of the continental shelf – please see Employer’s Detailed Guides); and there is no simultaneous employment relationship between the worker and a
non-UK employer for the same work
It does not matter whether the worker is a UK national
It does not matter whether they make occasional business trips outside the UK

Or, if they are not wholly working in the UK (eg an airline pilot), do they ordinarily work in the UK?
What does the employment contract specify and how does it work in practice:

Where the worker begins and ends their work
Where their private residence is, or is intended to be
Where the worker’s headquarters is
Whether they pay income tax and national insurance contributions in UK
Whether their work has a sufficiently strong connection to the UK
What currency they are paid in

*Please note the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man are outside the UK
Personal services workers (please see our blog on personal services workers)
As with personal services workers it has the potential to be slightly grey in nature, although applying the above questions to an individual should help it become a little clearer. As we always say if you are unclear […]

Secondments and Auto Enrolment

Secondments into and out of UK
TAP Assist look at how the Auto Enrolment legislation could impact a company if they use employees on secondment. TAP Assist has had a number of meetings with the Pensions Regulator and they are keen to get across this understanding. So please find some information that was supplied to us from the Pensions Regulator.

UK workers
If a UK-based employer makes a short term placement of a worker outside the UK they will need to consider whether the worker’s base remains in the UK despite their placement overseas, so:
If the worker’s contract remains with the employer located in the UK; and

There is an expectation on the part of the employer that the worker will resume working in the UK for the UK-based employer at the end of the placement; and
That worker would be, were it not for the placement, assessed as working or ordinarily working in the UK;
Then the worker is likely to be considered to be ordinarily working in the UK.

If a non-UK employer sends a worker on secondment to a UK organisation, the non-UK employer will need to consider whether the worker’s base remains outside the UK despite their secondment to the UK, so:

If the worker’s contract remains with the employer located outside the UK; and
There is an expectation on the part of the employer that the worker will return to work for their employer outside the UK at the end of their placement;

Then the worker is unlikely to be considered to be ordinarily working in the UK.
Individuals working on secondment from another company will usually remain a worker for the company from which they are seconded.

As with personal services workers it has the potential to be slightly grey in […]

Auto Enrolment fines and Penalties

What will happen if you don’t comply with Auto Enrolment?
With regards to Auto Enrolment, it is the Pensions Regulator who is responsible for ensuring that a company complies with their employer duties. There are a number of overlapping situations that a company may fall foul of around employment & discrimination laws and/or regulations from the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority – formally the FSA Financial Services Authority), but with regards to Auto Enrolment it is the Pensions Regulator.

In all the conversations that we have had with the Pensions Regulator they are trying to focus on a “carrot approach” (guidance, education and support) rather than imposing the “stick approach” (Auto enrolment fines and penalties).  Basically they are looking to help companies who are trying toachieve compliance, but they have significant powers to take action against employers who wilfully fail to carry out their duties.

Regular readers will know that we do 3-6 seminars a week with SME’s on Auto Enrolment and an employer recently said to us “for all your scaremongering, we all know that the Pensions Regulator will not visit hundreds of thousands of companies’’

“Our reply?”

“They won’t have to, they have a computer to do it for them!!!!’’

These powers can range from issuing warning letters to some very hefty fines.
Initial Minor breach
As an example this could be for first time breach in the areas of non-compliance of duties or unpaid contributions or not registering with the Regulator. The Regulator may issue a company with a warning letter emphasising any breaches of duty that an employer has knowingly or unknowingly made and they will set out a time frame for compliance. Normally just a letter called an enforcement notice or an improvements notice…

Please note that around 8% of […]

Auto Enrolment Myths and Reality

 
Myth and Reality
TAP Assist look at some of the myths that surround Auto Enrolment and try to offer the facts around those myths. All this information comes from our meeting with the Pensions Regulator where we went through our AE Ready proposition with them.

 
Postponement
Myth: Postponement delays the staging date and there is no need to do anything until then.

Reality: Postponement does not change the staging date (and other duties still apply in this period).
Staging date
Myth: Employers can work out their own staging date.

Reality: Employers are unlikely to know their PAYE size on 1 April12, so should use staging date tool.
Pay reference period
Myth: The Pay Reference Period (PRP) is the same as the pay frequency.

Reality: PRP may or may not be the same as the pay frequency
Assessment
Myth: Pensionable pay is used to determine which category a worker is (eg Eligible Job Holder).

Reality: Qualifying Earnings must be used for assessment, not pensionable earnings
Re-enrolment
Myth: A person who leaves a pension scheme can be left until re-enrolment.

Reality: Workers who have never been an Eligible Job Holder and an active member will need to be monitored
Opt out window
Myth: People contractually enrolled get an Opt-out window.

Reality: A contractual enrolment has no “Opt-out window”, but can exit under scheme rules
Opt out contributions
Myth: You can’t Opt-out until a contribution has been taken.

Reality: If the Opt-out window opens before the first pay day, a contribution may not be taken.

TAP Assist has launched a service called Simply Enrolment (www.simplyenrolment.co.uk) which can help achieve compliance through an information based programme that can run from 18 months out and is designed to slowly introduce Auto Enrolment to employers.

Information has been provided by the Pensions Regulator

 

 

Good questions to ask your Auto Enrolment clients

How to engage your clients with some suggested Auto Enrolment questions
TAP Assist look at some of the types of questions that advisers should be asking their clients when discussion Auto enrolment. Good questioning can help you understand the clients requirements and if they are the right type of client for you and the services you can and want to offer.
On a scale of 1 – 5 what is their attitude to Auto Enrolment?
1 = they don’t care, they want everything as cheap as possible, just want to reach compliance and no more

5 = they would like to offer a great pension and personal advice for all staff (anywhere in between)

By understanding where on this scale your clients sits, it will allow you to gauge and understand their attitude to Auto Enrolment and therefore the type of services you can offer this client. There is no point in pushing a staff education programme, individual advice, whole of market comparisons with days of consultation time etc to a client who is 1 on the scale. Likewise a client who is a 5 will be more interested in the help and support you can offer and will not respond as positively to low cost foundation/basic level solution that has little or no touch from you. Make this your first question and you can tailor your offering towards their response.
Do they know their staging date?
If you can arrange for them to send you their PAYE reference number in advance of the meeting this will be a great start to the meeting, especially if they do not know their staging date. You will be able to tell them their date and this will in turn add to the confidence that they will have in you as […]

Agency workers and Auto Enrolment

Agency workers and Auto Enrolment

TAP Assist looks at what employment agencies have to do with their agency workers and Auto Enrolment.

Since October 2012 employers have been automatically enrolling all of their ‘eligible jobholders’ into a suitable pension scheme which meets minimum requirements. Auto Enrolment combined with the recent changes in the Agency Worker Regulations increases the benefits of employment status to agency workers. This will increase costs for agencies and in turn affect how they deliver their services to their clients and which if any of the costs should they pass on. They will need to look at how they roll out these changes and make sure that they have efficient processes for aspects of the implementation and management of the processes.

 
Who does Auto Enrolment cover?
Companies who have employees must enrol ‘jobholders’ (subject to certain age and earnings bands) into a suitable and compliant pension scheme. These jobholders will include all but the truly self-employed. Please note the policy’s intention is that agency workers are included in auto-enrolment.
Pension obligation?
It is the obligation of the employer, who has the contract with the employee, to provide the pension. If there is no worker’s contract, the obligation to provide the pension lies with the party that is paying the worker. Basically this means that the employment agency will need to provide the pension in the form of a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme with minimum contributions needing to be made. The contributions start at 1% of salary until Sep 2017 and will rise to 3% from Oct 2018.
Processes
One of the key processes that an agency will need to look at is Opt-outs. Within the Auto Enrolment legislation employees are allowed to opt out once they have been enrolled. Given […]

Top 5 Questions Employees ask about Auto Enrolment

Top 5 Questions Employees ask about Auto Enrolment
TAP Assist look at some of the top 5 questions that get asked by employees with regards to Auto Enrolment.

Part of a successful roll out of Auto Enrolment is providing information and engaging with the employees. We feel that employee engagement is a massive and often over looked part of the Auto Enrolment compliance process. Strangely, it is not a requirement of the legislation, but we feel it is a necessity. Hopefully these questions will help, we will post more in the future.
Q1: Is everyone being enrolled into a workplace pension?
A: Starting from October 2012 (very large employers first), every employer has to enrol into a workplace pension, workers who:

are not already in a qualifying workplace pension scheme;
are aged 22 or over;
are under State Pension age;
earn more than a minimum amount (£10,000 a year in 2014-15); and
work or usually work in the UK.

Q2: I meet that criteria, when will I be enrolled?
A: If you meet the criteria above (Q1), the timing of when your employer will enrol you into a workplace pension depends on their size. The ery largest employers have already been through the process in late 2012 and 2013. Other employers will follow over the next several years. Your employer will give you the exact date nearer the time.
Q3: Why is this happening?
A: The aim is to help more people have another income, on top of the State Pension, when they retire. The State Pension is a foundation for your retirement. If you want to have more, you need to save during your working life. Otherwise, you may reach retirement facing a significant fall in your standard of living. The full basic State Pension in 2013/2014 is […]