No plans to communicate pension freedoms for 32% of law firms

Around a third (32%) of UK law firms have no plans to communicate the pension freedoms to their employees, according to research by Portus Consulting and HR in Law.


The research forms part of the biennial HR in Law and Portus Employee benefits survey 2015, which surveyed 118 UK law firms. Of the firms taking part in the survey, 27% are concerned that they may face staff management issues due to the pension freedoms because employees may not be able to afford to retire.

The study also found:

  • 97% of respondents are aware of the pension changes.
  • 22% of those surveyed have plans to adapt financial education around the freedoms.
  • 60% offered contributions of 5% on pensions on a matched basis.
  • 45% of respondents are planning to offer pension and retirement guidance.
  • 85% provide group personal pensions.

Further findings from the report include:

  • 95% of respondents offer life assurance to staff.
  • 75% offer private medical insurance (PMI) to professional staff and 66% offer it to support staff.
  • 73% of respondents offer income protection to professional staff and 65% offer it to support staff.
  • 5% have no female professional or support staff working flexibly, compared with 39% who have no male professional staff working flexibly and 46% who have no male support staff working flexibly.
  • 78% of those surveyed provide enhanced maternity 
pay above the statutory level for professional staff, while 68% offer it to support staff.

Stuart Gray, chairman of Portus Consulting, said: “The legal sector can take pride from being ahead of many other industries in pension provision.

“But the key, as with all employee benefits provision, will be communication to help staff understand retirement planning and benefits in general.

“One potential growth area could be the launch of broader financial education and guidance services. But guidance will need to ensure it covers the specific needs of different groups of employees. What suits Baby Boomers is unlikely to engage Generation X or Y.”

Rob Hind, chairman and director of HR in Law, added: “We have experienced a period of unprecedented change in employee benefits in the last two years largely driven by legislation.

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“Future group risk benefits should reflect the ageing UK workforce, which is placing increased responsibility on employers.”