BNH issues five-point pensions reform checklist.


A leading employee benefit consultant has issued a five-point pension reforms checklist to ensure employers are prepared for a major amendment to pensions legislation.

Brunning Newman Houghton Limited (BNH), who are based in Tunbridge Wells compiled the detailed five-step plan in order to provide businesses with an introduction to the Workplace Pension Reforms (WPR).

Under the new legislation, from 2012 every employer will be required to automatically enrol their workers into a qualifying pension scheme, if they have not already joined a scheme . Employers must also pay contributions on behalf of their employees.

BNH’s five-point plan leads businesses through the WPR process, from planning ahead of their ‘staging date’ through to the establishment of an implementation team and communicating the changes to all scheme members.

Tim Mills, Senior Consultant at BNH, said: “It is important to appreciate that every employer will be affected by this legislation and it represents a significant change to the present set of regulations. This checklist offers guidance to employers who either operate an existing pension plan or for those who currently do not provide pensions for employees”.

“Employers who do not operate a pension scheme at present will have possibly the most work to do. Accordingly, this group should take extra care when planning to allow sufficient time for the necessary systems upgrades (HR and payroll), to get a suitable pension arrangement in place plus the all-important communications to employees.”

For more on the Workplace Pensions Reform and to ensure your business is ready for the new legislation please call Tim Mills at BNH on 01892 861002 or tim@bnhl.co.uk.

FIVE-POINT PLAN

1 – Know your ‘staging date’

BNH can help employers establish their ‘staging date’ or businesses can find their ‘staging date’ from the list published by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), which can be found here: http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/staging-date-timeline.aspx#s4566.

2 – Start the planning process

For employers with an existing staff pension scheme, the process should start by assessing whether your current scheme meets the qualifying criteria for existing active members, reviewing the scheme to confirm if it can be used for automatic enrolment of new members and ensuring contribution levels areadequate to meet the legislative requirements.

Those who do not currently operate a pension scheme for employees will need to:

Bullet ensure that a suitable ‘qualifying workplace pension scheme’ (QWPS) is in place in good time before their duties commence. BNH recommends that this work is started at least 12 months before your ‘staging date’

3 – Consider the impact on any existing scheme or schemes

BNH review service will check present arrangements for compliance, or make recommendations for a suitable scheme if employers currently do not operate a workplace pension scheme.

4 – Establish an implementation team

BNH would advise firms to ensure they understand the key legal requirements and timeframes, assess the impact on systems (payroll and HR processes), and engage with their pension advisers at the earliest opportunity.

5 – Communicate the changes to all scheme members

It is normally the job of the pension scheme advisor to communicate the benefits of membershipand, bearing in mind the significant changes being introduced through this legislation, BNH would recommend that a suitable programme be agreed and implemented as part of the timetabling for this process.

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