Auto – Enrolment Planning Services
Auto – enrolment is the name that has been given to the Government pensions legislation that was introduced in October 2012. It requires all employers to operate a pension plan and ‘auto – enrol’ all employees into membership. Employer pension contributions are also a mandatory requirement.
There has been a great deal of coverage elsewhere surrounding the requirements of the regulations and a précis of the main points is available on request.
Even though there is still some way to go before all employers reach their ‘staging dates’ there are already big demands being placed on pension and payroll providers, consultants and advisors who operate in this area of the market. It therefore follows that advance planning is a vital part of the process.
MPS is currently engaged in assisting a number of employers with their duties and is already well – versed in providing support for this process so, with our help, employers can plan for their new obligations in good time. There are five areas, set out in brief below, that employers will need to consider as part of the planning process and MPS will be pleased to discuss these with you.
Considering each point in turn will lead to the creation of a timetable that ends at the staging date. The Pensions Regulator suggests a 12 – 18 month timetable should be adequate and MPS fully endorses this.
- Early Planning
Demand for the provision of services will increase with each passing month as greater numbers of employers hit their staging date. It is therefore vital to begin the process early and book your resources as soon as possible.
- Consult Service Providers as Soon as Possible
Once the staging date is confirmed it is time to engage with potential service providers – as well as internally with staff, such as payroll and HR, who will be involved with implementation and communication. Please remember that it is the employers’ duty – not the chosen service provider(s) – to ensure that the auto-enrolment obligations are delivered.
- Determine if Help is Needed
Employers may not only be buying services in a capacity-constrained market, they will also need to consider the cost of contributions. Some functions may of course be carried out without external help, which should save money. It should also be remembered that external expertise may yield longer-term cost savings, especially if expensive mistakes are avoided in the planning stages.
After an employer has consulted with all relevant stakeholders it will be in a better position to make informed decisions, understand what needs to be achieved, how it can be achieved and where help is needed. Having spoken to your existing payroll and pension providers, it may be that one or both are unsuitable. If new providers need to be researched and sourced, specialist consultants or advisers could be required to help select them.
- Draw up a Project Plan
It cannot be stressed enough that this is a complicated process with wide-ranging and possibly unforeseen implications across a business. MPS recommend aiming to be ready for auto-enrolment three months before your actual staging date in order to allow time for testing and dealing with any problems or delays.
- Invest in Employee Engagement and Communication
Good communication will help make auto-enrolment as successful as possible – better engagement should mean having to handle fewer queries from employees and perhaps being better able to anticipate outcomes. There is a cost to all employers of implementing and complying with auto-enrolment. For that reason it is an opportunity to demonstrate to employees that you are investing in their future. MPS’ experience has shown that this can be a very positive exercise if planned and presented carefully and correctly for your particular group.
Imagine the kudos generated from providing employees with a payrise (deferred until later, admittedly!) but an improvement in their employment benefits nevertheless. A thorough employee communications and engagement programme should increase the return on investment for employers and help generate good will among staff. MPS has over 30 years experience in the provision of planning, consulting and communication services for employers and employees and will be pleased to discuss your particular requirements.
If you would like more information, please contact us