A full house at Nottingham's BioCity on 26 November heard top tips on preparing for pension auto-enrolment from a panel of pension, legal and payroll specialists. Chaired by Wilsons' Gary Cormack, the panel consisted of Ian Baguley (Wilsons), Ginny Hallam (Halborns) and Chloe Hughes and Doug Perry (both of chartered accountants Clayton & Brewill).
Ian kicked off the presentations with some sobering facts on our aging population and the thinking behind the government's desire to get us all saving at an earlier stage for retirement. With auto-enrolment due to hit most businesses in the room in the latter half of 2015 and beyond, it was clear to see though that Ian's message of 'plan early if you want options' was landing on willing ears!
For those of you who were unable to make the event, here are some of the top tips shared by our panel.
Know your key dates! Visit the pension regulator website to find out your staging date. If it's less than 12 months away you should have had a letter from the regulator.
Plan early if you want a choice of pension scheme. With many schemes filling up quickly, businesses need to be talking to pension providers at least 12 months before their staging date.
Do your workforce due diligence as early as possible. Make sure you have employee contact details, including an email address where possible, date of birth and national insurance number. And work out a method for keeping this up to date.
Check that your payroll software can cope. Plan for a 'parallel payroll' the first time.
The financial burden of auto-enrolment falls on both employer and employee. Consult early with your employees and allow them to plan ahead for the change in their take home pay.
Update your whistle-blowing policy. The regulator can impose hefty fines for non-compliance.. make sure you are the first to know of any problems!
Use the three-month postponement facility with new starters. By tying it in to the end of your probation period you can make sure they are the right fit for your business before enrolling them into the pension scheme.
Make sure you know whom you employ! Think about anyone on long-term sick or employees on different sites.
Bring forward the cut-off date for commission and overtime notifications. Payrolls will take longer under auto-enrolment.
Take control of the situation by planning early. If you rely on the NEST scheme you will get no help with administration or employee communication.
Use your pension scheme as an incentive to help you recruit good people.
If you employ agency workers, make sure that the agency is the employer and not you.Think about your record-keeping. You will have to assess your workforce every time you do the payroll – be it weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Make sure you have a method to track employee eligibility. This gets especially interesting when employees dip in and out of eligibility due to fluctuating earnings from shift work, overtime and commission payments.
Find out more
For help with managing your payroll and planning for pension auto enrolment, email Chloe Hughes at Clayton & Brewill or call 0115 950 3044.