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John M Taylor & Co | Accountants Paisley/Taxation/Vat Returns/Business Start Ups/Sage/Payroll/Bookkeeping

Workplace Pensions Reform

The government has introduced measures aimed at encouraging greater private saving which includes workplace pension reforms. New legal obligations will require employers to automatically enrol their eligible jobholders into a qualifying pension scheme.  

A new workplace pension scheme called NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) will be one of the qualifying schemes and will be open to any employer who wants to use it to meet their obligations.

The initial roll out of the scheme will be October 2012 but this will impact on employers with 120,000 employees or more. For those with a more modest workforce the start date varies; for example, those with less than 500 employees the date is 1 January 2014 and for those with less than 50 employees the earliest start date is 1 March 2014.

Employees eligible for automatic enrolment will be:

  • those who are not already active members of a qualifying scheme
  • are aged at least 22 years and below the State Pension age, and
  • earn over £7,475 gross a year.

The qualifying scheme may be the existing employer pension scheme if it meets certain conditions or if an employer does not have a qualifying scheme, they will have to set one up or use a NEST pension scheme.           

Minimum contributions levels for qualifying schemes are as follows:

Minimum Contribution

Employee  Pays

Tax Relief

Minimum Employer Contribution

  8%

  4%

  1%

  3%

Employees will be able to opt out of the scheme if they so wish. However, for those employees within the scheme it is expected that the employer will have to contribute at least 3% of ‘qualifying’ earnings. These earnings are the employees’ basic salary plus commissions, bonuses and overtime between £5,035 and £33,540 a year (in 2006/07 terms but to be uprated). Pension contributions are to be phased in.   

A great deal more information is starting to be released and can be viewed via The Pensions Regulator website.

Internet links: The Pensions Regulator website Basic employers guide

 

Posted - 19/07/2011

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