Pension minister Steve Webb has today announced a series of technical changes to the governments auto-enrolment programme that are intended to make it easier for smaller companies to add their workers into a pension scheme.
The regulation changes were revealed after the programme, which automatically includes people in workplace pensions, hit its one year anniversary earlier this month. The changes follow claims from employers that part of the legislative framework could operate better, and will be implemented next month. Employers are being included in auto-enrolment based on their size, with large firms already being signed up.
'Employers and our partners in the pensions and payroll industry have made a major contribution in delivering these landmark reforms since October last year,' Webb said.
'Now, one year in, we want to build on this success as medium-sized employers prepare to automatically enrol their staff into a workplace pension.'
The DWP said these changes would give employers greater clarity and consistency about the tests applied to defined benefit schemes, in relation to the appropriate age, service limits and revaluations.
Companies have also been given more time to join the scheme at each stage, increasing from one month to six months. The deadline for employers to provide information to individuals on their opt-in and joining rights has also been extended to 6 weeks.
The rules governing opt-out notice have been made clearer to enable schemes to customise their own notices.
Webb said that the government wanted to build on the success of the programme so far. Figures from the department found that less than 10% of people were opting out.
'These changes are aimed at streamlining the system and making it easier for employers to meet their duties,' he said.
The full details of the changes can be found here.