Workplace pensions: employers and payroll urged to give government their views

By Anita Jaynes on 19 January, 2016

A support group set up to help payroll professionals and employers get to grips with workplace pensions has called on colleagues to give their views on the new system to government.

At a meeting in Swindon, held by the town’s branch of Friends of Automatic Enrolment, and attended by North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, attendees were urged to let the government know their views on workplace pensions, also known as automatic enrolment.

Auto enrolment affects all employers, with larger companies already drawn into the system. From this year, there will be a huge spike of SMEs and micro-businesses involved, all of which will be legally obliged to set up pension schemes for qualifying employees.

Andy Agathangelou, national founder of Friends of Automatic Enrolment, who attended the meeting hosted by Banks BHG chartered accountants, said: “2016 is a massive year for automatic enrolment, as thousands of SMEs and micro business will be included.”

He said the government’s Work and Pensions Committee is currently reviewing how auto enrolment is working, and urged anybody involved in AE – including accountants, IFAs, payroll bureaus and employers – to give their views.

“Automatic enrolment has been a success but, as more companies are drawn in, there is a concern about how busy company owners will find the resources to deal with the legislation, and there is a fear that there will be an increasing amount of non-compliance,” he said. “We all need to work together to make auto enrolment succeed, because if we can, we’ll have made a huge dent in the pensions crisis.”

Justin Tomlinson, who has spoken in the House of Commons in praise of the work being done by Friends of Automatic Enrolment, was invited to the meeting by Swindon group co-chair Nicki Goddard-Dady. Nicki is payroll manager for Banks BHG, which hosts the group’s meetings.

Justin said: “So far 75,000 firms have enrolled but there are 1.8million SMEs and micro-businesses which will be drawn in over the next two years, and we know this will be a challenge.

“The work Friends of Automatic Enrolment is doing is very important. Government is listening, and wants to hear collective evidence about how the system is working, to see if any changes need to be made.

“Baroness Altmann is Pensions Minister and I know she wants to hear what people think about automatic enrolment, and I’d like Swindon business to let me know too.”

The next Swindon Friends of AE meeting will be on April 12. For more information, email Nicki Goddard-Dady on: