Those of us of a certain age will remember the golden age of public information films, with viewers urged to ‘Think Bike’, or ‘Keep Britain Tidy’. The genre has not entirely disappeared; the latest incarnation features a large computer-generated, multicolour furry monster called ‘Workie’, urging employers to embrace the new workplace pension.
'Workie’ is meant to be the ‘elephant in the room’. The message is that too many employers are ignoring it and hoping it will go away. Auto-enrolment is, however, something which every employer is going to have to get around to tackling.
Many SMEs are about to reach their auto-enrolment ‘staging date’, by which their schemes have to be set up. This is not something you can ignore; it’s mandatory, and those who do not comply will face penalties from the Pensions Regulator.
One area where employers do have a choice is in how they choose to implement the scheme. It is possible to do it yourself online via NEST, the workplace pension set up by the government.
At first glance, this may seem a low-cost way of doing it, but aside from the amount of valuable time it will take employers to do it this way (something which too many small businesses fail to cost), the danger is that they will get it wrong. Savvy employers will seek advice, so that they end up with a scheme which properly meets their needs.
Doing nothing, or doing it wrong, might not just cost employers in penalties from the regulator; increasingly, employees are becoming aware of the workplace pension, and in an era where many sectors are facing skills shortages, employers who have not complied will be viewed as a poor choice, leading to recruitment and retention issues.
Doing nothing is not an option; so it’s vital employers get the right information to enable them to make an informed decision about which way to go.
We are holding a free auto-enrolment seminar for employers in Lowestoft on Wednesday 15th June. For more details and to book your place visit our events page