Employers seek clarification on 2012 pension reforms

Employers preparing for the 2012 pension reforms, including auto-enrolment, are seeking clarification on how to manage employee data and the definition of basic pay.

Richard Murray, group pensions manager at First Group, said that he is overwhelmed by the amount of information on the reforms coming from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR), and is finding it difficult to get further clarity on the legislation’s definition of basic pay.

He added: “I am not sure yet if I have to go through some kind of complicated certification process. If I do have to certify, I need to try to understand what elements might constitute a basic pay definition.

“If, for example, a driver is paid hourly for time spent behind the wheel, in some organisations they get extra money for checking the bus over. There are all sorts of extra duties that bus drivers may be expected to do in some areas, but not others. There are all sorts of other allowances. It makes a difference to whether they are working on a weekday or a weekend.”

Murray is also unclear about what employee data First Group should be recording. He said: “We still obviously need to capture those employees that we are required to auto-enrol under the Pensions Act 2008 and ensure that we meet all the minimum requirements for them.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Humphris, HR and UK reward director at Informa, said he wants to know where employee data should be held and how he can ensure it is compliant with data protection laws. He added: “I need to ensure that the UK systems are ready for any form of interface, whether it be for information going out to a third-party or third party information coming back into our systems.”

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