Are You Ready for Pension Auto Enrolment? Part One
All businesses will soon have to provide a pension for their staff. The start date depends on the size of your business. But there’s a lot more to think about than just the date. Here are five tips to consider:
Don’t leave it too late. The auto-enrolment ‘to-do’ list for employers will take some time to complete; don’t leave it to the last minute. Collating data can mean sourcing information from various systems. In addition, enrolling employees to the pension scheme could involve changes to their contracts of employment, which requires a three month consultation period. An early start is ideal – 6 to 12 months ahead of your staging date is ideal.
Understand your key dates. It’s crucial that you not only understand when your staging date is, but also any key company dates such as the pay reference period and payroll cut off. Documenting these dates and then overlaying the new dates when actions need to be completed as a result of pension reform legislation will help gauge the impact on the business. It will also help decision making, such as the need for a waiting period and if so, how long it should be.
Quality of data is key. It’s easy to underestimate the complexity of the data you require. You’ll need data for employee eligibility assessment, joining, contributions and opt outs. Inevitably this will come from different sources and systems. It takes a significant amount of time to do this within payroll cycles and the frequency that this data is needed also adds a layer of complexity. The quality of the data and the processes for sourcing the data for each payment cycle will be crucial to how smoothly that works each pay period.
Choice of contribution basis. Your chosen scheme must meet a quality standard, based around a minimum level of benefit or contribution, so you need to start budgeting for any extra costs. There is more than one acceptable contribution basis and they can be mixed and matched across the workforce to suit different reward mechanisms or pay patterns. What will work best for you? The key point is that the contribution basis and definition of earnings can be chosen to suit your business.
Method of contribution. Salary Exchange should also be considered as this can offer you significant cost saving benefits. However, where salary exchange is being used, this decision should be made prior to the scheme staging, otherwise it can cause additional administration for employers.
There is a lot to think about and do when it comes to setting up your company pension. These five tips give you a good starting point and in a future blog we’ll share with you another five tips. In the meantime, if you have any questions about pensions, do get in touch.