Shepherds Bush Housing Group targets DC pension scheme at lower earners

The Shepherds Bush Housing Group has introduced a new trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension scheme as part of its efforts to make saving for retirement easier for staff on lower incomes.

From last month, new joiners can choose to join the DC plan or the 80th career average revalued earnings (Care) scheme, which went live in April. Existing employees in other arrangements can also change to the DC or Care scheme. All the plans are offered by the Social Housing Pension Scheme, which is administered by the Pensions Trust.

All housing associations can tailor the DC scheme to their employees. The Shepherds Bush Housing Group has chosen to match employees’ contributions up to a maximum of 5%. 

Meanwhile, employees who join the Care scheme receive a 6.75% employer-funded contribution, while their own contributions vary according to age. Staff under 30 put in 6.55%, those between 30 and 39 contribute 7.55%, and those over 40 put in 8.55%. All contributions are paid via a salary sacrifice arrangement.

David Blackburn, director of business support at the housing group, said: “It is the pension scheme members who have been saying that the people who would most benefit from a DC pension are often those in low-earning brackets. 

“In the [housing] sector, some people do not sign up to Care because it is expensive. Although the employer contribution is very high, the employees’ contribution is also fairly high.”

The group plans to illustrate the value of its retirement benefits, plus other perks, in total reward statements, provided by Synergy Creative, to be sent out for the second time next year.

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