Pension reforms - be prepared - Business Works
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Pension reforms - be prepared

Mark Paraskeva, CEO Payroll Division, IRIS Automatic enrolment - the key component of the workplace pension reform - will mean that all businesses in the UK will eventually have to automatically enrol their staff into a qualifying pension scheme. Some larger companies have already begun complying with the change, with smaller companies having to follow suit over the coming months and years.

Industry experts are urging businesses to start preparing for automatic enrolment 18 months before their 'staging date', but despite this it seems that for many businesses this is the last thing on their mind. A recent study by IRIS Software Group found that 59% of businesses surveyed felt unprepared for automatic enrolment, with this figure increasing to almost 90% when looking at smaller businesses (0-100 employees).

The date at which employers need to begin complying with automatic enrolment is known as a staging date and is based on figures taken from the employers’ largest PAYE scheme. The study from IRIS found that 53% of the small to medium businesses who took part had no knowledge of their staging date.

Mark Paraskeva, CEO of IRIS payroll division, commented on the results, "These figures are quite worrying, with such a lack of knowledge and preparation for such a huge change. We get the impression that many smaller businesses think automatic enrolment will not affect them or that they don’t need to worry about it yet. Experts are suggesting that employers start preparing 18 months before your staging date however, so a large proportion of employers may already be past this deadline and not even aware of it."

"There are a number of steps employers need to take in preparing for automatic enrolment, but the first of these is to find out your staging date. This is a vital step so you know how much time you have and can plan accordingly. The main piece of advice we are giving businesses is to educate themselves on the legislation, why it is being introduced and the effects it will have on their operations."

The following steps need to be taken by every business, regardless of size, in preparation for automatic enrolment:

  1. Find out your staging date – this is the date that you will be legally required to start complying with the new legislation.
  2. Assess your workforce for eligibility – only certain employees will qualify for automatic enrolment. Assessing your workforce enables you to know which employees you will need to automatically enrolled onto a scheme.
  3. Review your current pension arrangements – if you already have a pension scheme in place, you need to make sure it complies with the new legislation. If you don’t have a pension scheme in place, you need to implement one.
  4. Communicate the changes to your employees – there are a number of different steps employers will need to communicate to their employees through the entire automatic enrolment process.
  5. Automatically enrol your 'eligible jobholders' – after assessing your workforce and finding out your staging date, you will need to automatically enrol certain employees onto a qualifying pension scheme.
  6. Register with The Pensions Regulator (TPR) – employees are required to inform TPR of what they have done to comply with their new duties. You need to register with TPR within four months of your staging date and provide details on how many employees you have enrolled.
  7. Contribute to your workers’ pensions – employers are legally obligated to contribute a set percentage to their employees’ pension funds.

Mark Paraskeva is CEO of the Payroll Division of IRIS which provides business critical software and services to the UK accountancy and SME sectors. For more information, please visit:

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