Is your head in the sand regarding workplace pension reform?

Author: Huw Jones
Published: 26th January 2012

Changes to pension legislation have become a bit like buses: nothing for ages then two come at once.  That’s a bit unfair on buses though because to be honest changes to pensions have occurred almost annually since April 2006.

Who can forget 6th April 2006? A – Day, pension simplification.  Old legislation, schemes and rules were swept aside to make for a one size fits all pension landscape.  One size fits all unless you applied for protection for your scheme.

Now obviously simplification was the name of the game so protection needed to be quite complicated. The legislation did not disappoint.  There was primary protection and enhanced protection (or both) to apply for.  You could even apply for enhanced protection – even if you didn’t need it, just in case you ever did.

Since then the legislation has been amended and tweaked. Successive governments have made changes that have undone much of the good work of A-Day. Do you remember the reduction in annual allowance and the anti-forestalling rules?  Only to be replaced by the special annual allowance when the coalition government were in the driving seat.

However, these “pension simplification” changes are but a ripple on the pension pond compared to the tsunami that is about to strike every employer in the UK – WORKPLACE PENSION REFORM.

Those three words, said in that order: WORKPLACE PENSION REFORM, should solicit a response from every employee and employer in the UK. But they don’t. Why is that?

There are only two possible explanations:

  1. Each business has already conducted detailed planning on how the workplace pension reforms will affect them and has already started working towards complying with the legislation in readiness for their staging date or is satisfied that they already satisfy the requirements.
  2. Each business has no idea what the workplace pension reforms are, let alone any idea how they will impact on their business.

At our recent breakfast seminar covering the impending wave of changes, business owners were left in little doubt as to the impact on their businesses over the next few years. The consensus was amazement. Not amazement that they hadn’t realised the magnitude of the wave about to hit employers and business owners like themselves, but the fact that the room wasn’t full to the gunwales with business owners getting their heads out of the sand and looking seaward.

There are a range of staging dates between October 2012 and April 2017. To find when yours is look HERE.

Photo credit: Flickr/John VanderHaagen