New Pension Rules Auto-enrolment Delay Announced for Small Businesses

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With the introduction of new pension rules almost upon us, in a statement to the House of Commons on 28th November, 2011, Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, has confirmed there will be a delay in the implementation of staging dates for “small businesses”. It is understood that for the purposes of auto-enrolment, a “small business” is one with less than 50 employees.Those small businesses that were set to begin to enrol their staff in April, 2014 will now not be obliged to do so until May 2015, giving them a year longer to prepare and allowing the opportunity not to make compulsory pension contributions for a further year. Steve Webb also confirmed that the staging date will remain unchanged for businesses with 3000 or more employees of July 2013. Further changes could still be made as certain detail regarding the changes is still to be clarified and a revised timetable is expected to be published in the New Year. Large employers should now have a plan in place to ensure compliance with auto-enrolment. The major concern is what impact the duty to provide employer contributions will have on the finances of the business. Forward planning is essential and employers should be reviewing their current pension arrangements and budgeting for the increased costs. Useful guidance is available online from the Pensions Regulator

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