The Pensions Regulator to advise employers on pension reform duties

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is writing to the UK’s largest organisations, alerting them to their new pension duties that will begin in 18 months.

The staged auto-enrolment and compulsory contribution dates begin in October 2012 for organisations with more than 250 employees. TPR is providing a five-point checklist alongside the notification letters, plus further information on its website.

In the next six months, nearly 600 of the largest organisations employing about a third of the UK workforce (around 10 million employees) will receive letters marking 18 months to their particular duty date.

In due course, every employer in the UK will have received at least two letters as they approach their duty date.

TPR will provide the following information:

  • Summary of duties. A five-page overview of the new duties for employers.
  • Know your date. Employers can check their indicative staging date for the new duties.
  • Employer checklist. For large employers that will be receiving letters from TPR in coming months, this includes straightforward tips on knowing when to act, starting the planning process, implementing the duties and communicating the changes to staff.†
  • Detailed guidance. This covers all aspects of workplace pension reform legislation, and is designed to be suitable for large employers with experience of providing pensions, advisers and intermediaries.
  • Software guidance. Released in April to over 500 payroll professionals, this guidance is helping payroll software developers implement changes to their products, better enabling them to support employers.

Other material that will go live later this year includes interactive online tools designed specifically to help smaller employers without previous engagement with pensions to understand the new duties.

This will include a tool enabling employers to look up their indicative staging date by inputting their pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) reference, as well as a tool to calculate pension contributions.

Bill Galvin, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator, said: “Today we start in earnest our drive to help educate employers about what they must do to comply with workplace pension reform..

“Our message is that we urge every employer to check the approximate date they must comply. The date will vary between Oct 2012 and February 2016, depending on employer size.

“We are saying to the UK’s 10,000 large employers with more than 250 staff to check your date now, read our guidance and use the five-point employer checklist to help prepare.

“For smaller employers, many of which will not need to automatically enrol staff until 2015 or 2016, we suggest that for now you look up your duty date.†

“Later this year we will be publishing a range of web tools to help smaller employers to understand what they need to do to comply.”

Charles Counsell, interim executive director for employer compliance at The Pensions Regulator, added: “Auto-enrolment is some way off for small and micro employers but we want to encourage employers to know their date and put in their diary when they need to start to prepare.

“Although small employers are a new audience for us, we have done substantial work to understand their information needs.

“Our web tools, which will go live later in the year, have been designed specifically to help them get to grips with what they need to do. These have received positive feedback from our target audiences during testing.

“We will be writing to all of Britain’s employers as they approach their duty dates and working with a range of organisations to raise awareness of the changes in pension law.”

Read more articles on the 2012 pension reforms