The Pensions Regulator has urged businesses in the construction industry to act now to be ready in time for when their automatic enrollment duties apply.
Over the coming months, it will be the turn of medium sized businesses to follow nearly three thousand larger employers across the UK who have already automatically enrolled around 2 million workers into a workplace pension scheme.
Medium sized employers (those with between 50 and 249 workers) will reach their staging date in early spring and summer of next year. The staging date is when an employer’s automatic enrolment duties are switched on.
Charles Counsell, the Executive Director of automatic enrolment at The Pensions Regulator is urging businesses not to leave their automatic enrolment preparations to the last minute. It can take months and leaving it too late could lead to complications, limit choice of pension provider and risk non compliance, which can come at a cost.
Mr Counsell said: ‘It is like a journey to work. If we all leave at the same time, at the last minute, we will struggle to get to our destinations on time. We do not want to see a bottleneck – with employers leaving it to the last minute to approach providers and advisers. If employers plan in good time and make their arrangements early, they will find their journey less demanding.’
The Pensions Regulator is providing lots of information to help employers be ready for their staging date. They are being urged to take the first step and visit The Pensions Regulator website to find out their staging date. Employers can then use the handy timeline planner tool to help them to make their own individual plan.
As part of their statutory duties, employers will need to assess their staff to see if they are eligible for automatic enrolment. Broadly, eligible workers are those over 22, who earn more than £9,940 per year and who ordinarily work in the UK. Most employers will have a significant number in their workforce who must be automatically enrolled. Please see The Pensions Regulator website for more information on this.
The Pensions Regulator advises that six months before their staging date, employers should have identified a suitable, value for money pension scheme that will meet the needs of their workforce. With thousands of employers needing to make similar arrangements it makes sense to plan ahead.
Employers should automate as much of the process as possible and review their payroll and other business software to ensure it is fit for purpose – leaving enough time to identify a new software provider where needed.
In addition, employers should decide if they need outside help from an adviser such as an accountant or an independent financial adviser. Again, it is sensible to contact them early to discuss whether they can help meet your needs. There is plenty of information for all employers on what they need to do to comply with the law at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk