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Changes to Auto Enrolment Imminent

Changes to Auto Enrolment Imminent

As the Government’s auto enrolment programme reaches its first anniversary, Pensions Minister Steve Webb has announced a series of technical changes aimed at making it easier for smaller companies to add their workers into a pension scheme. The changes to the scheme, which automatically includes people in workplace pensions, follows claims from employers that parts of the legislative framework could be improved, and the Pensions Minister’s proposals to address that will be implemented next month. Smaller firms, many of whom do not have the resources to meet the demands of the requirement, are advised to contact employment law specialists for best practice guidance.

Smaller Businesses Phased in Under Auto Enrolment Staging Dates

Included in the changes are an extension to the automatic enrolment joining window, from one month to six weeks. The deadline for employers to provide information to individuals on their opt in and joining rights is also extended to six weeks. The final change is the addition of alternative definitions of pay reference periods for both assessing jobholder status and determining whether a scheme is a qualifying scheme. The majority of the changes will be implemented as of 1 November 2013, with those on the joining window and registration deadlines coming into force from 1 April 2014. Steve Webb said that employers and the Government’s partners in the pensions and payroll industries had combined since October last year to deliver what he called “landmark reforms”. Mr Webb added: “Now, one year in, we want to build on this success as medium-sized employers prepare to automatically enrol their staff into a workplace pension. These changes are aimed at streamlining the system and making it easier for employers to meet their duties.”

Our Employment team provides advice on the employment aspects of all major business decisions, including pensions auto enrolment. For advice, contact a member of the team, call us on 01895 207809 or email charities@ibblaw.co.uk.