Adecco rejigs pensions for auto-enrolment

EXCLUSIVE: Adecco UK and Ireland is to harmonise a series of pension arrangements, introduce a multi-employer trust for its weekly-paid staff and a group personal pension (GPP) plan for its monthly-paid staff to comply with its auto-enrolment duties.

The group of recruitment organisations has 20,000 weekly-paid staff and 3,000 monthly paid staff across the UK. It also has 18 different legacy pension arrangements, and staging dates that begin on 1 March 2013 and go through to 2016.

The weekly-paid employees, who are contract staff paid through the recruitment organisations, are currently offered a stakeholder defined contribution (DC) pension scheme. Only 20 out of 20,000 staff are enrolled in the scheme. The new multi-employer trust will be provided by Now: Pensions.

Matthew Johnson, head of compensation and benefits at Adecco UK and Ireland, said: “We have different issues to deal with in our different communities of people.

“Our biggest concern has been administration, all the assessment and categorisation, communicating to staff, and preparing to manage opt-out and opt-in. We suspect we’ll get a lot of opt-outs because we employ a lot of people on minimum wage.”

Adecco UK and Ireland’s monthly-paid staff employees currently have access to one of a combination of 18 different schemes, including group personal pension (GPP) plans, a trust-based DC pension scheme and a few legacy defined benefit (DB) pensions.

Johnson added: “We are taking auto-enrolment as an opportunity, for our monthly-paid staff, to mop up that pensions estate.”

Among the monthly-paid staff, non-scheme members will be auto-enrolled into a GPP provided by Scottish Widows. Employees who are in one of the 18 legacy schemes will also be transferred into the GPP.

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Both monthly-paid and weekly-paid employees have received detailed communications about auto-enrolment and the pension schemes. “I’ve spent a lot of time going out to management meetings to explain what’s happening, so they can then cascade the messages down,” said Johnson. “We have set up subject matter experts to support their colleagues through it as well.”

Communications will continue through 2013 and beyond, because many employees will not reach their staging date until 2015 and 2016. Johnson added: “There will be people sat next to colleagues who aren’t staging for another three years, so we’re having to think about how we deal with that as well.”