68% of employers in south west England offer salary sacrifice pension arrangements

More than two-thirds (68%) of employer respondents in the south west of England enable staff to contribute to their workplace pension via a salary sacrifice arrangement, according to research by Benefiz.

Its survey of 50 employers based in the south west of England that employ HR managers or directors, also found that 48% of respondents do not pay above the minimum employer contribution rate under auto-enrolment into workplace pensions.

The research also found:

  • 94% of respondents provide employee benefits outside of a workplace pension for their staff.
  • 58% of respondents have set up a flexible benefits scheme or are considering doing so.
  • 62% of respondents have sourced the employee benefits they offer to staff directly from a provider, and 38% have done so via an adviser.
  • 90% of respondents provide childcare vouchers for employees, 63% offer a bikes-for-work scheme, 50% provide access to discounts and 40% offer a holiday buy and sell scheme.
  • More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents provide group private medical insurance, and 10% offer dental insurance.
  • 73% of respondents offer group life benefits to staff, 30% offer group income protection (30%), and 13% provide group critical illness cover.
  • 69% of respondents have set up a governance committee to ensure good member outcomes from a workplace pension scheme.
  • 55% of respondents are not aware of the government’s increased allowance for pensions advice in the workplace, which is expected to come into effect from April 2017, and 19% are considering taking advantage of the higher allowance.

Tim Gillingham, director at Benefiz, said: “It is clear that employers in the south west are having to compensate lower salaries by offering a range of employee benefits to staff. The main challenge employers face is the lack of access to local professional advice on the selection and design of these benefit packages.”