50% to offer new pension flexibility to older staff

Older worker

Half of respondents could offer new pension and remuneration flexibility to older workers to enable them to take advantage of the new Freedom of Pensions rules, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits.

The new legislation, which is due to come into force in spring 2015, will allow older employees, (those over 55), to access defined contribution (DC) retirement funds in any format they desire

The 2014 Jelf Emplotee Benefits Survey also found that 35% would offer this for all employees over the age of 55, with a further 15% willing to consider this on a case-by-case basis. Just 6% would not offer this option.

The survey also found that:

  • 78% of respondents have not yet made their employees aware of the proposed changes to pensions fund access, although more than two-thirds (67%) are gearing up to do so. 
  • 69% of employers do not currently offer pre-retirement courses to staff. 
  • Among employees who have revently retired, 22% would have used the greater access and flexibility regarding pension funds had it been available when they retired. 

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, said: “Our research shows that the appetite for this remuneration option may well have been grossly underestimated by the legislators. 

”It remains to be seen if the rules will be tightened to avoid this practice becoming widespread and, if so, how this can be achieved without damaging the concept of freedom of access to pension funds.”

Tony Clack, managing director at LaterLife Learning, added: “There has never been a time of greater change within pensions legislation. Added to the removal of the default retirement age, this increases the complexity of decision-making and consequently the need for greater retirement education to assist with both financial and lifestyle decisions.

”As a result we are seeing unprecedented demand for our retirement courses, as more and more organisations recognise the necessity to assist their employees in preparing for retirement.”