BA brings in flexible retirement

EXCLUSIVE: British Airways (BA) has introduced flexible retirement, started to communicate auto-enrolment and streamlined its online pensions portal during its annual pensions month.

Pensions month, which was introduced in September 2011, also offered members of its closed defined benefit (DB) pension scheme, the opportunity to change their accrual rates. Members of this New Airways Pension Scheme can choose an accrual rate of 1/60th, 1/67th 1/75th or 1/130th for future accrual. The employee contribution rate is different for each accrual rate.

September is also the month when the salary sacrifice enrolment window opens for staff who wish to choose that arrangement for their trust-based defined contribution (DC) scheme contributions.

Janine Sparks, reward manager, employee benefits, at British Airways, said: “We call September pensions month to try to get our employees to focus on their pensions for just one month in the year.”

The changes brought in during pensions month, included:

  • The introduction of flexible retirement, which means that, from age 55, employees can draw some of their pension and carry on accruing fresh pension savings as they work later.
  • Communications around auto-enrolment with Shilling Communication, leading up to its January 2013 staging date.
  • The removal of a separate user ID and password for the DC pension scheme, so staff can go straight into their pension when they log into the company intranet.

“We are beginning to mention auto-enrolment,” added Sparks. “For those who have opted out of our DC scheme, we invited them to come in now. Only 2,500 of our 38,000 employees are not in a pension scheme. We have been contractually enrolling people into our pension schemes for quite some time.”