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Are employers ready for re-enrolment?

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Three years on, employers will give employees a 'second chance' to enrol. Three years since the launch of automatic enrolment in the UK – it is the turn for employers with fewer than 30 employees to enrol their employees into a workplace pension.

At the same time, large corporates who were first to stage three years ago, have another chance to reassess and enrol those who opted out of the scheme the first time round. Whilst original opt out figures were low, these individuals have lost considerable savings potential in this three year period. In September, NEST reported that 'for the half a million workers who opted out first time round, an estimated £350 million is missing from their pension pots.

Ian Bird, director at employee benefits adviser, Secondsight, said: “Those who opted out of auto-enrolment have lost significant savings compared with colleagues in the scheme. However, this new set of obligations is a second chance to communicate the benefits of the scheme and encourage people to enrol, join the pension scheme and save for their future. “Most employers re-enrolling now have the option to review their timings and delay re-enrolment by three months. Workers will be then be re-assessed again and re-enrolled, if they meet eligibility criteria, and given opt out rights.

We hope most companies won’t delay their re-enrolment date, and instead review and amend their enrolment timings by actually bringing this forward by three months, which is also an option. Each month that passes is lost opportunity for employees to save for the future.”

According to reports, people in the UK aren’t saving enough for retirement. Recent research carried out by Royal London flagged that the average 35-year old would need to save £660,000 into a pension plan, to have any hope of matching the standard of living enjoyed by today's pensioners. Yet, that average 35-year old is only likely to have £14,000 set aside. We therefore hope that companies will act now.

Re-enrolment is also a chance for companies to review what did and didn't work first time around and if needed, make changes to their automatic enrolment process. They must also make a declaration of compliance and failure to comply will result in possible fines.  The Regulator means business – again.

Secondsight advises employers on what re-enrolment entails and helps them manage any complexities. Ian Bird concluded: “Our motto is: 'correct, compliant and timely'. Companies need to ensure that they aren't in breach of the regulations – not just from a cost perspective, but also in terms of protecting their reputation by ensuring there is no pension mismanagement.

“Financial planning, auto enrolment and pensions freedom are big, complex and important subjects. Having good workplace communication focused on financial planning for employees can help companies engage and retain their people. We’re seeing a growth in companies embracing financial education to empower their people to take control of their financial future. Such an investment is a win-win for all concerned.”

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