Many schemes available to help print plan for changes

Barry Dixon
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The government is introducing far-reaching changes to the pension landscape which will impact on every UK employer and have cost implications for most. In a nutshell, every employer with one employee upwards will be required by law to automatically enrol all employees of 22 years old and over, earning at least 7,475 gross a year into a suitable qualifying pension scheme, and also pay in employer contributions. This starts in 2012 and will impact on the print industry in stages, finishing in 2016.

PIPS is rolling out a series of information communiques to raise awareness throughout the industry. This will include factual information and free guidance if required.

Recently the organisation met the two government departments responsible, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Pension Regulator (TPR), to discuss our education strategy. DWP and TPR are enthusiastic about
the PIPS initiative which will positively complement the information they distribute and ensure the print industry is well informed.

PIPS and the BPIF have an existing company contact base but at the March PIPS meeting it was agreed that we should contact other trade associations to see if they want to ‘come aboard’ this communications exercise.

PIPS will be simply one of the many options available to employers – existing schemes could be adapted or any suitable scheme chosen. Virtually all trade associations across the industry were happy to be part of this exercise as they are already getting enquiries from some members. We anticipate the first communique will be sent out to the trade associations in mid-summer for them to distribute in their normal way.

Most smaller print companies will not be impacted until the later stages of the auto-enrolment – late 2014-2016 – but it is important for all employers and their employees to be aware of what is coming and plan accordingly. Large companies will have to address the requirements from late 2012 and careful consideration will need to be made about the scheme to be used and the cost implications.

While there are some basic facts in the national press, one of the problems facing employers is how to get answers to the many questions which will arise, given the complex nature of the workplace reforms. The Pensions Regulator will be applying a strong compliance regime and companies will have to ensure everything has been dealt with. PIPS has already heard from one print company told by its ‘friendly’ bank that it could use the bank’s scheme, at the cost of £3,000-£4,000.

The PIPS communications exercise will not be product based but will give the necessary information, mainly using the official DWP/TPR text content, in a simple and timely way. What may be helpful to print employers is that free guidance is available along the way and if a company wants to eventually consider the PIPS scheme then installation and the ongoing service are all free.

If you require information or wish to join the communique list, please visit printindustrypensions.com.

Barry Dixon is secretary at the Printing Industry Pension Scheme (PIPS)

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