Milton Keynes and Bedford businesses joined Jacky Perkins, Reward Manager at Essentra PLC for a plain-english explanation of how pensions reform is affecting firms across the UK. Delegates from firms of all sizes met at the Cranfield Innovation Centre offices to find out what companies need to do to meet their all-important auto-enrolement deadlines.
Here are Jacky’s top tips on how to navigate the ups and downs of pension reform. A pdf is also available to download here.
Know your terminology (or keep a list handy)
- Pensions is a complicated business and it pays to keep a list of acronyms handy to avoid getting your Defined Contributions (DC) comfused with your Defined Benefits (DB)….
- Your workforce is more complicated than you think, so make sure you’re clear on the differences between your Entitled Workers and Jobholders and their sub-categories
- Auto-enrolement is the key reform that has been put in place to make sure people have sufficient pension in the future
- Businesses have a responsibility to sign up their employees to a pension scheme and employees then need to actively ‘opt-out’ if they don’t want to be part of it. By making a pension an employees’ default position, the Government hopes to reduce reliance on the State Pension as people live longer Start planning now
- All businesses have been set a staging date by the government depending on its size and turnover. By 2018 this will include all businesses.
- To check your staging date log on to thepensionsregulator.gov.uk with your PAYE number and the number of employees paid by the at PAYE number on 5 April 2012
- Even if the staging date seems a long way off, it can take at least twelve months to prepare and you can’t start too soon….
Choosing your scheme
- Your existing pension scheme (if you have one) may or may not meet the new requirements so you will need to contact them to check. If not then start looking as soon as possible, as many providers are already at capacity so the earlier you can choose your scheme the better
- NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) is a Government fund which is obliged to accept all employers, though better rates may be had elsewhere. Alternatives include Master Trusts and Group Personal Pensions
- Ask the right questions – what will it costs you/ your employees? How much adminsitration and resources will you have to dedicate to running the scheme?
Communicate with your workforce
- Make sure that everyone knows what they need to do to rollout the reforms, and why
- Be clear that a good pension regime is of benefit to the company to attract the best employees not just a burden on your business.
About the events
Cranfield University Technology Park’s free business seminars are designed to suit the needs of growing businesses in the Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, with topics ranging from finance and business development to apprenticeship programmes.
The events which include a networking breakfast are hosted in the Cranfield Innovation Centre offices’ conferencing suite and are open to all.
The events are delivered in partnership with Cranfield University, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Central Bedfordshire Council.