Autoenrolment pension contributions increase in April for employers and employees. You can find out more about the changes here.
The phase-in period is over and all employers now have a legal obligation to enrol new and existing employees into a workplace pension.
And from the start of the new financial year in April the minimum contributions required from both employers and employees will, for the first time, increase. This is a significant change that both employers and employees need to be prepared for.
During the roll-out phase, minimum contributions were set at 1% for both employers and employees. In April this increases to 2% for employers and 3% for employees. There will be a further increase, to 3% for employers and 5% for employees, in April 2019.
Employees can, if they choose, opt-out of their workplace pension. Firms cannot make employees opt out.
Research by financial company Aviva has shown that 4% of UK adults have decided to leave their workplace pension once the contribution increase takes effect and another 12% are considering leaving. 50% are resolved to stay in their workplace pension and 34% admit they do not know what they will do.
Business owners may be feeling apprehensive about the additional cost of pensions contributions. Another study by Aviva found that 45% of employers are worried about the extra cost to their businesses.
The same research showed that 2% of employers were not even aware contributions were increasing and 9% did not know how the extra cost would impact on their businesses.
More than half of businesses said they would not be affected by the change, with 29% already contributing more than the proposed increase. The remainder say they will have to cut costs and/or increase prices to get by. 20% plan to pass on the extra cost to employees by paying them less than they otherwise would have done, while 17% say they will be forced to cut costs elsewhere in the business and 9% that they will employ fewer people. 7% said they would put up prices.
However, research has also shown that 66% of employers are concerned about their employees’ pensions.
However you plan to meet the extra cost of employee pensions (if you don't already pay more than the minimum) you should, if you have not yet done so, prepare for the rise in minimum contributions now in order to make the change as smooth as possible.
- Calculate how much you will be paying each month from April
- Work out where the money is going to come from
- And, if you need to, seek financial advice.
There is advice about autoenrolement pensions and companies' responsibilities on the Pensions Regulator website here.