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Auto-enrolment Pensions…One Year On….

It is one year since employers started auto-enrolling staff into pension schemes and today companies with between 800 and 1,249 employees will enroll anyone who do not already have a pension into a workplace scheme.

In the same week, a survey by the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) found that fewer people than expected are opting out of these new workplace pensions. According to the Nest research, only 9 per cent of employees chose to leave pension schemes after being automatically enrolled. This is much lower than the government’s prediction that as many as a third would opt out.

To mark the anniversary of the scheme Nest has launched its five dos and don’t for employers preparing to auto-enroll staff:

Employer do's

1.    Plan early – don’t underestimate how long it will take, talk to your payroll and other providers as soon as possible.

2.    Assess your workforce to understand which of your workers are affected.

3.    Communicate with staff clearly and early; engage and involve. Have a communication plan and involve all relevant departments in your business.

4.    Examine systems (particularly payroll) to ensure they are ready and capable.

5.    You may want help - you may want guidance from experts/external advisors.

Employer don’ts (employers who have been through the process warn ‘don’t make these assumptions’)

1.    ‘Once we’ve chosen the pension provider everything will be done for us’

2.    ‘There’ll be a lot of work leading up to the deadline but then our work is done’

3.    ‘We have to offer a pension to all staff’

4.    ‘It’s like the stakeholder pensions. Most people will opt out’

5.    ‘Our payroll provider will tell us what we need to do with regards payroll’

Tim Jones, chief executive of  Nest, said: “Auto-enrolment has brought a radical change to workplace pensions, but it will rapidly become the new normal. While the early stages have primarily affected large employers, the numbers of employers coming under the duties increase dramatically in the next few months. We all have to up the pace to be prepared for much higher volumes and to meet the challenges implementing automatic enrolment brings.

“Nest is already working with more than 1,000 employers for automatic enrolment. Our insights into their experiences have enabled us to develop some really useful dos and don’ts for employers still to go through the automatic-enrolment experience.”

For information visit http://www.nestpensions.org.uk/schemeweb/NestWeb/public/NESTforEmployers/contents/nest-for-employers.html

CIPD Article 1 October 2013

 

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National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2013

Ensure you are complying with the new national minimum wage rates payable to adult and young workers...

Class of workers

Effective fromRate
Main (adult) rate for workers aged 21 and over 1 October 2013 £6.31 per hour
Development rate for workers aged 18-20 inclusive 1 October 2013 £5.03 per hour
Rate for workers aged 16-17 inclusive 1 October 2013 £3.72 per hour
Rate for apprentices who are under 19 or aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship 1 October 2013 £2.68 per hour

 

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Promoting Happiness in the Workplace Makes Commercial Sense....

According to Prof Scollon, a psychologist: “Research shows that happy people earn more money, are healthier (spend fewer days out of the office sick) and are more creative at problem solving.” This means promoting happiness in the company makes commercial sense “even if you’re a total Scrooge and only care about making money”, she adds. Click here to read Della Bradshaw's feature of the week in the FT 

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Mediation Trial as Part of Reform Initiative

A mediation network has been launched in Manchester and Cambridge by the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS), as part of a reform initiative around the employment tribunal system. The cities will trial the scheme for a full year before the Government looks at rolling it out nationally.

The project has been put forward as a means to reduce the number of cases taken to an employment tribunal and has come at a time when the number of tribunal cases submitted are increasing significnatly. 218,000 tribunal cases were raised in the UK in 2011, a 44% rise from 2008/9. The average spend on defence claims for businesses is around £4,000.

Norman Lamb, Employment Relations Minister, commented: “We know that sometimes workplace disputes are unavoidable, and that those involved see no alternative except an employment tribunal. We want to promote alternative resolution options and we’re committed to encouraging parties to find other ways of resolving their problems. The use of mediation is one such way and this is why we’ve launched the BIS regional mediation initiative. This scheme will offer small businesses in Manchester the opportunity to experience mediation and discover the financial and psychological benefits.

See our mediation page for further details on how the service can help solve workplace disputes. 

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“Any Chance of a Quick Word?” – Proposals in Place to Help End the Employer/Employee Relationship Amicably

As you know, Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced measures to give businesses more scope and confidence to manage their workforce effectively without excessive employment law red tape. Action was taken on the back of frustrated employers finding it costly, time consuming and difficult to end the employment relationship for the benefit of employer and employee, should it break down. Views are also being sought on the parameters of having a ‘Protected Conversation’ without consequence. To date the Government has given details of:

·         Its support for settlement agreements (the proposed name for our current Compromise Agreement) to help end employment relationships in a fair and consensual way

·         ACAS has agreed to provide a new code of practice

·         Consideration for a cap on compensation for unfair dismissal claims

·         Proposals to streamline employment tribunals by making it easier for judges to dismiss weak cases

·         Revisions to the ACAS Code of Practice on discipline and grievance cases, providing further guidance and support small businesses.

A consultation period called "Ending the Employment Relationship" will run until 23 November 2012 with findings expected to be published in the New Year. To particulate in the consultation go to http://www.bis.gov.uk/Consultations/ending-the-employment-relationship

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