Interaction between pension provider and payroll vital for ISS UK

Danish-owned facilities management company ISS UK has a turnover of over £1 billion and 42,000 staff, of whom 21,000 will be eligible for auto-enrolment.

Its staging date was 1 January 2013, but it has postponed it to March because January is its financial year-end.

ISS appointed Now:Pensions to manage 25 to 30 schemes, which are active with between five and 1,000 members. It outsources its payroll functions to Ceridian.

Fergus O’Connell, UK group financial controller, says: “One key to getting this right has been the interaction between payroll and pension provider. Each pension provider has different information requirements, so we had to invest in bespoke software to transfer the data to Now:Pensions.

“Taking a simple example, each holds data, such as job titles, dates of birth and national insurance numbers in a different format, and all that had to be tested with the new interface.”

ISS has taken a prudent approach to the definition of qualifying earnings, says O’Connell. “We received little help from The Pension Regulator on this. We asked a question and just got the standard default reply back. What can be included will probably end up being defined by case law.”

ISS will send letters outlining its auto-enrolment plans to scheme members at Christmas, following this up in the run-up to implementation.

“Despite the communication, it will only become real for people when they see a deduction in their pay packets,” says O’Connell.