Welcome Break is planning for a smooth process when it comes to its re-enrolment date in June 2016.
The motorway service operator began planning for its initial auto-enrolment six months prior to its staging date in June 2013, and found that by working with advisory service Aspira it was able to ensure a relatively smooth operation once the first contributions were made.
Welcome Break operates two pension schemes for auto-enrolment: one for its weekly paid staff and one for its monthly paid staff. Due to the transient nature of its workforce, the organisation auto-enrolled 2,000 eligible employees, and had few opting out.
The organisation worked with its advisers to plan and create the communications around auto-enrolment for staff, which were sent out two months before its staging date. Its monthly paid staff all received a one-to-one session with Aspira, which covered all areas of pensions including contribution rates and possible retirement outcomes. As a result, some employees contribute more than the minimum requirement.
However, Welcome Break had not expected the initial staging date to be as time consuming as it was. Pauline Cashmore, payroll manager, says: “I never envisaged the amount of time I would have to spend on auto-enrolment. With pensions in a payroll department only supposed to take up X amount of time, for the first three months I would say it was almost 80% of our time. It was a huge impact and I do believe that [employers] like us didn’t quite realise how much it would entail.”
Welcome Break is fully aware of its upcoming duties of re-enrolling eligible employees at its three-year staging date anniversary, and has already begun to plan for the task. Cashmore believes the re-enrolment stage will not be too challenging and plans to send out communication two months in advance. She says: “In theory it shouldn’t take too much [work]; it will be the communication again to inform [staff] that we’re re-enrolling everybody.”