Stephen Timms – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Stephen Timms on 2015-11-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses are aware of their obligations relating to workplace pensions.

Justin Tomlinson

We are committed to supporting small and micro-businesses to adapt to their new automatic enrolment duties. Together with The Pensions Regulator, we have launched a new broadcast-led communications campaign to raise awareness of automatic enrolment amongst small employers.

The Pensions Regulator has also recently launched a new interactive and simplified online step by step guide to automatic enrolment, designed to meet the specific needs of employers who may not have pensions experience, including those with just one or two staff. Employers using the website can access tailored information relevant to their circumstances. The Pensions Regulator also provides online content for business advisers who play an important role in supporting smaller employers to meet their legal duties. To raise awareness and understanding, the Regulator has had over 500 meetings with intermediary firms and spoken at over 300 events around the UK during the last year

The Regulator sends a series of letters to every employer starting at least 12 months before their staging date, which is the date that the law applies to them. These letters set out what an employer needs to do and by when to comply with the law and signposts to the relevant information on the Regulator’s website.

To help employers adjust to the costs of automatic enrolment the minimum employer contribution level starts at 1% and increases gradually to 3% by October 2018. In addition, to ensure that all firms have access to quality, low-cost pension provision, The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) was established by the Government and has a public service obligation to accept any employer that chooses NEST for automatic enrolment.