L’Oreal to postpone auto-enrolment

EXCLUSIVE: L’Oreal is to postpone auto-enrolment by three months to manage its 2,500-strong beauty adviser population, who have unpredictable spikes in their earnings.

This particular group of employees receive added commissions around a new product launch and over the Christmas period, but during the majority of the year would not qualify for auto-enrolment due to the earnings threshold.

Ben Marks, HR, compensation and benefits director at L’Oreal, said: “If we didn’t have the opportunity to defer, we would be auto-enrolling a lot of people who have just had a funny spike in their earnings. There are periods where they are not in the eligible workforce band.”

L’Oreal will postpone its auto-enrolment from 1 August to 1 November 2013. It already provides employees with an eligible trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension.

“We have looked at various options, such as opening up different schemes for different populations,” added Marks. “We decided to keep the scheme as it is. We didn’t want to establish a second-class scheme. We [have] a trust-based scheme so we want to ensure everyone is getting the same level of service and the same quality of investments.”

The contribution levels for the scheme are based on length of service and earnings. The organisation doubles employees’ contributions, up to a 10% maximum.


To communicate auto-enrolment, L’Oreal has categorised its workforce, which are divided into head office staff, field-based employees, in-store beauty advisers and staff at its distribution centres. These categories are also split into weekly and monthly-paid employees.

“Each of these is a different audience,” said Marks. “Some can be reached easily, our 600 or 700 employees at head office can be reached on email or invited to a seminar. With other people, we will have to work harder, and the most difficult ones will be the beauty advisers.”

Communications began in June with a tailored email and a summary leaflet sent out to all employees. Beauty advisers, who do not have company email addresses, received leaflets via the post.

Over the next month, employees will receive more emails and will be invited to seminars. Marks added: “We will also work with regional business managers to ensure information is being passed down to all employees. For field-based staff, we are going to be doing webinars.”

L’Oreal has worked with Buck Consultants on the auto-enrolment project, from scheme design to communications.