Auto-enrolment — so far so good?

It has been a hectic few months for the larger players in the food industry as they face head on the challenges posed by auto-enrolment. In what is widely regarded as the biggest shake-up in workplace pensions for many years, the financial, administrative and legal challenges faced by businesses in the food sector are becoming clearer as firms confront the prospect of receiving their staging dates from the Pension Regulator.

The new auto-enrolment duties came into force on 30 June 2012. They are being phased in over a period of five-and-a-half years that started on 1 October 2012 and will eventually apply to all employers in the UK. Once an employer is covered by the new duties, it will be required to auto-enrol its eligible workers — referred to as ‘jobholders’ — in a pension scheme meeting specific standards unless the jobholders are already active members of the employer’s qualifying pension scheme. They also give ‘non-eligible jobholders’ the opportunity to opt in to a qualifying scheme.

A jobholder can choose to opt out of the pension scheme in which he has been auto-enrolled, but if he does not do so the employer will be obliged to pay minimum pension contributions as long as the jobholder remains an active member…

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