Bournemouth, United Kingdom (PressExposure) March 08, 2011 -- As an employer, you will have to enrol your workers into a workplace pension scheme that meets or exceeds certain legal standards. These standards set out a number of things, including the minimum amount of money you as an employer have to contribute towards your workers' pensions, which is planned to be 3% by 2017. Many Independent Financial Advisers are now offering support to employers enabling them to navigate their way through this new development - one such is Pine Lodge IFAs in Bournemouth (http://www.pinelodgeifas.co.uk) .
As part of the new duties firms will be enrolled into the National Employment Savings Trust, (NEST), (http://www.nestpensions.org.uk). NEST is one of the pension schemes you will be able to choose to meet your new legal duties.
The staggered introduction of these duties is known as 'staging'. The staging date is the latest date by which you must start to automatically enrol your UK workforce into a pension scheme AND provide a minimum level of contributions or benefits on their behalf.
The requirement to be "NEST compliant" starts from October 2012. However, your actual 'staging date' will depend upon the size of your business and, if you have less than 50 employees, your PAYE Reference Number. From this date all your eligible employees will need to be enrolled into a workplace pension scheme that meets or exceeds certain legal standards.
You can quickly find out the estimated staging dates for your company and a short guide to the first steps you need to take by accsessing The Pensions Trust dedicated NEST web page.
Enter the Employer name, number of UK staff, your name, position and e-mail address - seconds later you will receive your estimated "staging dates" and a printable "auto-enrolment summary"
Even at this early stage you may feel you need professional advice as 'staff' may include agency workers and others which may not normally be considered to be employees. Also there are likely to be a number of staff who fall outside the age limits or may be under the earnings thresholds and therefore will not count when determining the staging date.
The auto-enrolment summary is printable and should help you to understand:
When (you need to be ready);
How (much it's going to cost); and
What (you need to put in place).
Consider how you are going to cope with the additional cost of paying contributions for staff that are going to be automatically enrolled.
Are most of your staff already in a 'qualifying scheme'? How many of your staff will need to be auto-enrolled in the minimum contributions scheme? Are you able to absorb the additional cost? Note that staffs that are auto-enrolled can choose to opt out of the Scheme.
What type of scheme are you going to use?
Do you want to start a new scheme now to spread the cost and administration impact on your business? If yes, have you considered the options? Do you want to use your existing scheme? If yes, does it meet the 'qualifying scheme' criteria?- Do you want to rely on NEST?
Have you thought through how long it will take to organise any of the above?
The Government will write to you 12 months before your staging date and again three months before.- However, 2012 is only round the corner and will fall into the next round of business plans and financial planning. Can you afford to leave it off the list for another year? Please note that this provides an estimate staging date only and it will be you as an employer responsible for calculating the true date and complying with the requirements.