13 January 2011
The Government has today published the Pensions Bill 2011, which
introduces a number of new measures previously announced by the
Coalition Government as part of the Spending Review.
Workplace Pension Reform
Since October 2001, employers with 5 or more relevant employees
have been required to provide access to a stakeholder pension (for
further information on this click here). This requirement is soon
to be replaced with the introduction of auto-enrolment from 1
October 2012, which will require employers to provide employees
with a workplace pension plan or enrol them in the National
Employment Savings Trust (NEST).
Employers will be required to contribute to the plan and operate
payroll deductions of their employees' contributions.
The new requirement will be introduced into stages according to
the size of the employer. The minimum contribution levels will be
phased in over a period up to 1 October 2017. Further information
on auto-enrolment can be found by clicking here .
The key measures for workplace pension reform in the Pensions
Bill 2011 are:
- Aligning the earnings threshold for automatic enrolment with
the personal allowance for income tax
- Permitting an optional waiting period before enrolling new
employees of up to three months
- Simplifying the process for employers to certify that their
money purchase schemes meet the auto-enrolment requirements
- Increasing the flexibility for employers on re-enrolment
- Allow contributions to be taken towards the cost of providing
personal pension benefits to current judicial pensions scheme
The Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:
"This Bill will radically transform the pensions landscape in
this country. Millions of people, who currently have little or
nothing put by for their retirement will, from 2012, find
themselves enrolled in a workplace pension - setting them on the
road to a more secure future."
The Pension Protection Fund
The Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) is also adjusted in the
Pensions Bill 2011. In particular, the change to the indexation of
the pension compensation payments will now be with reference to the
Consumer Prices Index instead of the Retail Prices Index.
The other PPF measures in the Pensions Bill do not impose
burdens on business or others. The PPF estimate that the change to
indexation of pension compensation will produce a reduction in
their current liabilities. This reduction represents a transfer
from current members of the PPF to employers sponsoring defined
benefit schemes through a compulsory levy. The other measures in
the Bill relating to the PPF deliver moderate savings in
administrative costs to schemes in a PPF assessment period.
State Pension Age Changes
In addition to the changes made to auto-enrolment and the PPF,
the Bill introduces the increase in the State Pension Age to
To view a copy of the Pensions Bill and its attachments click here