Employer Perspectives

News and Views on Employment and Pensions Issues

The case of Hargreaves v Department for Work and Pensions provides a useful reminder of what employers should keep in mind when managing an employee with a disability, including the following: Discuss suitable reasonable adjustments at the very first opportunity and seek input from the employee’s treating health professional and occupational health as well as the employee. Consider whether the application of a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ within the organisation, such as rigid working hours,…
Defined benefit (DB) pension schemes promise their members a pension for life. However, while one member may live to age 75, another might live to age 95. When working out how much money a DB scheme needs to fund the benefits it has promised members, trustees (or rather their actuarial advisers) therefore have to make an assumption about how long, on average, members will live – a longevity assumption. If that longevity assumption proves to…
In a consultation paper issued on 5 March, the second consultation on the IR35 changes, the government confirmed the intention is still to apply the IR35 reforms to the private sector in April 2020. In summary, the intention is for IR35 to apply to any individual who, but for the supply of their services through a personal service company or agency, would otherwise be an employee of the end user client in receipt of the…
Recent intervention by the Competition and Markets Authority could lead to increased competition in the market for investment professionals who provide services to pension schemes – which should be a good thing for the employers supporting those schemes. Many occupational pension schemes use the services of investment consultants and / or fiduciary managers.  Broadly, investment consultants advise pension scheme trustees on how best to invest scheme assets – and fiduciary managers make investment decisions on…
These two small, but practically important, changes are coming in: one next month and the other next year. From 6 April 2019, new rules relating to payslips will apply. The key points are: The right to receive a payslip will extend to all workers, not just employees. Employers will be required to itemise payslips (and show the hours worked) where the amount of wages or salary varies by reference to time worked. Where an employer…
On 6 April, the quality requirements that pension schemes being used for automatic enrolment (“qualifying schemes”) must meet are changing. DC schemes – what’s changing? At present, for a DC scheme to be a qualifying scheme: The employer must make a contribution of at least 2% of the worker’s qualifying earnings. The total contributions paid by the employer and the worker must be at least 5% of the worker’s qualifying earnings. From 6 April, the…
Superfunds are a hot topic right now in the pensions industry. A consultation on the regulation of superfunds has recently closed, and a response from the Government is expected in the near future. But what are superfunds, and why might they be of interest to an employer with a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme? What is a “superfund”? A superfund is an occupational pension scheme which will, at a cost, accept a transfer of assets…
At the end of January 2019, the Government launched a consultation which proposes plans to boost the protection given during redundancy to pregnant women and new parents returning to work.   Under the current law, before making an employee on maternity leave redundant, employers are under an obligation to offer them a suitable alternative vacancy where one is available.  They are therefore given priority over other employees who are also at risk of redundancy. Under the…
Despite Brexit dominating the news, there are a number of employment law issues for employers to be aware of in 2019. Below are five of the key areas to keep in mind as we head into the new year. Executive pay reporting For financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2019, UK quoted companies with more than 250 employees will be required to report on ratios between the CEO and employees’ pay and benefits…
You may have seen recent – sensationalist – media headlines like: “’We’re coming for you’ – Amber Rudd’s warning for bosses reckless with employee pensions” (ITV News) “Reckless bosses who put workers’ pensions in danger could be jailed for seven years” (The Mirror) “Seven-year jail terms unveiled for pension fund mismanagement” (The Guardian) The truth behind these headlines is that the government is starting to deliver on proposals made last year to strengthen the defined…