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What Does My Business Need to Do?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 1 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
Pension Changes Legislation Micro Firms

Looming changes to the pension rules are likely to be one of the biggest legislative challenges facing small businesses in the next few years. The changes will significantly increase the administrative burden that these firms have to bear, and it is important that you understand the implications well in advance.

What are the changes?

The changes will require businesses of every size to offer their employees automatic enrolment in an occupational pension scheme. In addition, employers will be expected to make contributions to their workers’ pensions, as well as administrate employees’ own contributions.

What are my main responsibilities?

The plans confer a range of new responsibilities on employers. Your primary new responsibility will be to automatically enrol every qualifying employee – and this includes apprentices. Enrolment should occur for all employees whose annual earnings exceed £7,500.

You will also be required to contribute to the pension scheme on your employees’ behalf. The amount you have to contribute will change in the coming years, but it will begin at 1 per cent of their earnings in 2012, and will rise to 3 per cent in 2017.

What if my business is very small?

Under the previous government’s proposals, it looked like the smallest firms would be granted an exemption from the rules. In its current form, though, the legislation makes no such provision. As a result, even so-called ‘micro’ firms will be legally obliged to comply.

There are, however, a couple of mitigating factors that are worth noting. Primarily, although firms of every size must offer automatic enrolment to all qualifying employees, micro firms will not be expected to set up their own occupational pension scheme. Instead, small businesses will be able to access the government’s National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), which provides a low-cost way of offering access to a pension scheme.

It is also worth remembering that employees are free to opt themselves out of the occupational scheme. This has important implications for businesses in which all of the employees are directors. In these cases, if you so wish you can simply opt out and then make your own pension arrangements.

When do I need to do this?

There is a range of deadlines by which firms must comply with the new rules. These are known as ‘staging dates’. Your staging date will depend on the size of your business. Businesses employing fewer than 50 people will generally have to start complying by October 2013, while larger firms will have to make the changes earlier. No business will have to comply before 1 October 2012.

The Pensions Regulator will write to you twice before your staging date – once 12 months before, and once three months before. These letters will explain exactly what you need to do in order to comply.

It is important that you start thinking now about the changes you will have to make. The new rules represent a significant new burden for the smallest firms, and you should plan ahead in order to minimise the expense of complying.

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Hello, I'm in the last year of a 4 year apprenticeship, I am an older apprentice I should mention, I started this apprenticeship when I was 22. My issue I feel like I have been let down by my company as an apprentice,I work as a setter/process engineer in plastic injection moulding, the long story short is as soon I was hired and done a shadow for a few weeks with one member of staff to follow and learn the basics, once I was capable to do the basics on my own I was then moved onto shifts which is where the position was required for but since then I feel like the company have done nothing to Improve my skills base towards my job role, They have put me through college and I am finishing off my last year but there was a limited amount of courses the college could provide for plastic processing and I have more qualifications to be suited in tool making than processing, we are a small team of technicians per shift and at the stage I am know through teaching myself when approaching trouble shooting I a at the skill level of said fellow technicians, but When I was hired by my manager he said I was to be trained to replace him eventually and become a process development engineer, since being on shift he has left me to it and palmed most of the technicians to a new manager who hands are tied, when the manager who initially hired me (he is also the senior process engineer) checks up on me for my college work he doesn't ask anything about it all that if its been handed in or if he could help at all, he also seemed to have not bother to take any time to mentor me or assign me a proper mentor that could progress and help me. The work place we are in is fast paced and demanding and have expanded but the technical teams became smaller due to leaving, I have fought a lot to try and get put on extra courses and have training more relevant to my job role but they have ignored it and are happy to treat me as a fully qualified technician but pay apprenticeship wages (well they give me minimum wage but gave me a promotion to a junior tech the day minimum wage went up after 2 years there, I am also allowed to asked for a review and a discussion upon a pay rise annually, which I have asked and been ignored numerous times) I do not want to make a complete formal complaint or issue but I was wondering is there a better course of action than quitting as I do wish to finish of my level 3, also they have given me a letter saying I have to stay on for 24 months after completion of apprenticeship or I will have to owe back the fees is that allowed? I was only under a 4 year contract,The manager currently in charge of me is great but is also tied down by upper management on what he can do for us, He has tried to receive courses of action to train me and has fought my corner numerous times as he and i quote "you are one of my hardest workers" he has become frustrate and even said to me i should've tried to get a job as a basic trainee instead of an apprenticeship even th
ZprocessTech - 1-Sep-18 @ 8:05 AM
Mama - Your Question:
Do employees staying away with an apprentice need to be dbs checked?Are apprentices allowed to work away from home?

Our Response:
Your employer would not have to be DBS checked unless you are classed as a minor/child. Volunteering or part-time work, including unpaid work experience, requires a disclosure if the profession involves regular contact with under 18s. Much depends upon what the terms of your employment contract says and what you have agreed to with regards to working away from home. Therefore, you would need to read it.
AnApprenticeship - 26-Sep-17 @ 2:57 PM
Do employees staying away with an apprentice need to be dbs checked? Are apprentices allowed to work away from home?
Mama - 23-Sep-17 @ 8:54 PM
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