In a Q&A in the February/March issue of Business Voice, Standard Life’s head of workplace policy Jamie Jenkins shared his advice for these companies, based on what has been learnt in the first year of auto-enrolment.
His first point may be the most obvious, but plenty of companies still haven’t heeded the warnings around timing. “Employers that leave it too late to make important decisions risk not meeting all their staging duties on time and creating additional administration later down the line,” he said. “It’s easy to underestimate the complexity of the data required around employee eligibility assessment, joining, contributions and opt-outs.”
Employee engagement and compliance were highlighted as major business concerns in the survey. Jenkins said that defining clear roles and responsibilities for those managing the process within your company was an important first step. But when dealing with the Pensions Regulator, he cautioned: “If an employer is honest and proactively contacts the regulator where there is a breach, it is likely to be sympathetic and offer guidance to help the employer comply. But if an employer hasn’t complied deliberately, or because they haven’t bothered, it will potentially use its full enforcement powers.”
There are nearly 40,000 employers due to stage in 2014, compared to around 6,000 in 2013. “It’s a massive leap for the industry in terms of capacity,” said Jenkins. “Employers should start planning early to make sure they find a provider that has the capacity to take them.”
But if you’re racing to the finishing line and think your job will be done when you’ve met the new pensions requirements, think again. According to Jenkins, if you’re serious about attracting and retaining talent, you should take the opportunity to review your wider workplace benefits package.
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