Smaller employers, including caravan and holiday park businesses, are being urged to make sure they understand their new pension obligations and to start planning well in advance.
The Pensions Regulator, the body that regulates UK-based workplace pensions, published details of research in March that found that while 82 per cent of small employers were aware of auto-enrolment, 47 per cent still did not know when they would need to act.
Auto-enrolment of eligible workers into qualifying workplace pension schemes began with the largest firms in October 2012. Tens of thousands of smaller employers are now joining the initiative, for example employers with 50-61 workers will come on board between August 2014 and April 2015. All employers will included by 2018.
If you run a smaller business, the date when you need to start enrolling your employees may still seem a long way off – but if you want to get auto-enrolment right, you need to start planning as soon as possible, particularly if your automatic enrolment obligations are complicated by a workforce that includes part-time employees, which is often the case for caravan and holiday parks.
The government estimates that around two fifths of part-time workers in the UK will be eligible for automatic enrolment and those who are not, for example because they fall outside age or earnings criteria, can opt in if they choose to do so.
As part of forward planning so that they are ready for their staging date – the date when they join the auto-enrolment initiative – employers need to put in place a compliant pension scheme, if they do not already have one, or make sure that an existing scheme meets auto-enrolment requirements and funding the contributions they must make to their workplace pension scheme.
They also need to understand which of three categories of worker their workforce falls into. Based on age and earnings, each category of worker has different rights, entitlements and employer communication obligations.
MIlsted Langdon’s Independent Financial Adviser colleagues at Milsted Langdon Financial Services offer a range of services to support employers in meeting their auto-enrolment obligations. For more information, or to arrange a free, initial, no obligation meeting, please contact us.