Media Briefing Note: Auto-enrolment: are you all set for the Roll-out?

LONDON, 3 May 2012 - Hogan Lovells today hosted a briefing for HR Managers and in-house employment advisers titled Pensions auto-enrolment: the HR challenge, with the aim of raising awareness of the pensions auto-enrolment obligations coming into force from October 2012.

These obligations will create significant administrative burdens for employers.  The key practical steps that need to be taken to prepare for the new duty include high level strategic issues as well as pension design and administrative process.  Although the primary auto-enrolment duties are on the employer, HR teams, payroll providers and pensions administrators are all going to have to liaise closely.  This will create challenges; most of those involved have historically not viewed pensions-related matters as falling within their remit. 

Strategic/high level concerns

  • Who is taking responsibility for leading the planning?
  • Have implementation and additional costs been budgeted for?
  • Are there any steps you can take to minimise implementation costs, perhaps by enrolling all staff in an auto-enrolment scheme early?
  • How does auto-enrolment fit with flexible benefit offerings?

Key implementation issues

  • Does your current pension scheme need to be changed?  Is this possible and how long will it take?  Or do you need to set up a new plan?
  • Does one-size-fit-all or do you need different pension schemes for different workers? 
  • Identifying which worker falls into which category, and when workers have moved between categories, is going to be one of the main headaches.  How will this be done?  Are you talking to your payroll providers to find solutions?
  • How will you manage compliance with the communications, notification and record-keeping requirements under the new regime?

Commenting on the forthcoming pensions auto-enrolment obligations Claire Southern, partner in Hogan Lovells' pensions team, said:

"The auto-enrolment road map is not easy to follow.  Employers need to know who to worry about, which category they fall into and what to do with them.  Practical project management is the employer's essential sat-nav."

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