Workplace pension call to action 2016 – Don’t ignore it!

As the New Year gets underway and all those Resolutions that have been made and in some cases already broken, the pensions world faces one of its own regulator imposed New Year Resolutions and also perhaps one of its toughest challenges.

To provide support and assistance to literally thousands of employers each and every month throughout 2016.

Professional pension advisers will have to be careful to ensure they have sufficient capacity to deliver a good level of service to all of their clients. For a further insight into the likely outcomes of the so called “capacity crunch” for professional advisers, you can read our “looking forward to 2016” article at http://www.taypat.co.uk/auto-enrolment-looking-foward-to-2016/.

In addition to this, employers are understandably feeling disgruntled at having to take on additional work in establishing a qualifying workplace pension scheme.

With the associated extra costs involved in the establishment and ongoing running costs of the pension scheme, employers feel the government have heaped onto their already substantial workloads of running a business an additional potentially time consuming burden.

But the task of having to put a workplace pension scheme in place at their staging date is one thing that will not just go away.

The question facing employers is what is this going to cost me to implement?

The answer is fairly simple, either engage the services of someone to take on the task of establishing a workplace pension scheme for them or go it alone. In which case, going it alone, the ‘cost’ will be the ‘time cost’ within the business of someone researching and implementing the appropriate solution and ensuring it is compliant and continues to be compliant in the future.

The specialist Auto Enrolment team at Taylor Patterson have already provided workplace pensions support to a broad spectrum of employers. Ranging from those that employ several hundred staff, down to employers with only one staff member with a tailored solution to suit each individual employer.

Most businesses that have staged already have used either their in house HR department or business adviser such as their accountant or pension scheme adviser to ensure this process was handled successfully for all concerned. But as we move forward into 2016 with around 500,000 employers reaching their staging date, smaller employers may feel they do not have the same level of support readily available to them.

If we look at what has happened already;

Is this the calm before the storm?

It seems that auto enrolment has been relatively successful so far: Figures from the Pensions Regulator show that since the start of auto enrolment, over 60,000 employers have put more than 5 million members of staff into a workplace pension. Opt-out rates are lower than expected and a handful of employers had completed their three year re-enrolment process at the end of 2015.

But some employers have struggled and have been subject to compliance action.

Up to the end of September 2015, more than 3,000 of the Pensions Regulator’s powers have been used, including 582 fixed penalty notices of £400 each. The real challenge will come over the next couple of years or so when around 1.8 million employers reach their staging date.

In response to this challenge, we have seen the Pensions Regulator step up its marketing drive to raise awareness with employers by introducing a giant purple creature called ‘Workie’ that has a simple message “Don’t ignore the workplace pension”. #DontIgnoreIt Smaller employers should not feel that they are alone in implementing this legislation. In spite of the increase in demand for professional advisers, help is still at hand for employers and ensuring you prepare early enough is key to success. Taylor Patterson has been heavily involved in auto enrolment since its inception in 2012. Drawing from our experience, we have developed a menu of services in which an employer can choose from to ensure they meet their auto enrolment needs. Through tailoring the level of service to the clients needs, we are well placed to provide support to employers going through the auto enrolment process.