COVID-19 information

Many businesses are facing serious challenges at the moment and are having to change their priorities and practices. We’ve put together some useful information to help you continue to manage your workplace pension effectively.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended across the UK until 30 September 2021. This scheme enables you to claim government support for paying your employees if you need to put them on temporary leave from work – known as ‘furlough’.

You can furlough employees for all or part of the hours they normally work. You don’t need to have used the CJRS previously to access it now.

Up to 30 June 2021, a government grant will cover 80% of furloughed employees’ current salaries for the hours they don’t work, up to a limit of £2,500 a month (depending on the level of non-working hours). As an employer, you’ll only have to pay National Insurance and pension contributions (although you can, if you want to, top your employees’ pay up to 100% at your own expense).

From 1 July 2021 the government grant to cover employees’ salary will start to fall and employers will be required to contribute, as well as continuing to pay National Insurance and pension contributions.

  • During July the government grant falls to 70%, up to a maximum of £2,187.50 a month. Employers will be required to contribute 10%, up to a limit of £312.50 a month.
  • During August and September it will be 60%, up to a maximum of £1,875 a month. Employers will be required to contribute 20%, up to a limit of £625 a month. This is set out in the table below.

May June July August September
Percentage of salary covered by government furlough grant 80% 80% 70% 60% 60%
Monthly limit £2,500 £2,500 £2,187.50 £1,875 £1,875
Employer contribution None None 10% 20% 20%
Monthly limit n/a n/a £312.50 £625 £625

You can find out more at www.gov.uk.

Pension contributions

Paying employees

If you’re paying your employees, you must carry on contributing to their pension savings.

You must pay at least the statutory minimum.

  • If your contributions are based on qualifying earnings this is 8%, with 5% from the employee and 3% from you as the employer. This is our Scheme tier (contribution model) 101.
  • If your contributions are based on basic earnings this is 9%, with 5% from the employee and 4% from you as the employer. This is our Scheme tier (contribution model) 102.

You can’t:

  • pause your contributions, or
  • carry on paying employees without contributing to their pension savings.

If you’re receiving government grants under one of the job support schemes to help with the cost of keeping employees on, these may have previously covered some of the cost of the pension contributions, but may no longer do so. We recommend taking advice if you’re not sure about this.

Businessman on the phone

Minimise your contributions

If you normally contribute more than the statutory minimum to your employees’ pension savings, you can reduce your contributions to the statutory minimum. To do this, please contact us and ask to update your participation agreement.

You can email us at clientsupport@nowpensions.com. Please include your four-digit employer code in the email. This will help us to help you faster.

When your employees stop being furloughed and return to work, you’ll need to start paying the higher level of contributions again. If you want to carry on paying the statutory minimum, you’ll need to carry out a 60-day pension change consultation with your employees. You can find out more about this on TPR’s website.

Employees on a break at a brewery

Members opting out or pausing contributions

You may get more members than usual opting out of the Scheme (if they’re within the one-month opting out period) or pausing their contributions. Remember you’ll need to re-enrol these members at your next re-enrolment date, although they can also choose to rejoin at any time.

You must not encourage employees to opt out, or suggest they’ll get some sort of reward if they do. This is known as ‘inducement’ and is illegal.

 

A group of hands

If you’re struggling to make contributions

Please contact us as soon as possible if you’re struggling to make your pension contributions or think you may not be able to make them. We’ll discuss the situation with you and explore the possibilities for helping you.

 

COVID-19 and re-enrolment

If you have to carry out your first re-enrolment during the pandemic, don’t worry – help is available.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will send you information on how to carry out your re-enrolment duties and complete your re-declaration of compliance. TPR recommends that you assess your staff for re-enrolment on the third anniversary of the date your workplace pension started.

You can’t use postponement for re-enrolment, but you can choose a re-enrolment date that’s three months either side of your third-year anniversary date. This may give you flexibility if the pandemic is making it difficult to complete your re-enrolment duties.

For example, if your workplace pension started on 1 July 2018, your re-enrolment date will be 1 July 2021. You can choose a re-enrolment date between 1 April 2021 and 31 October 2021.

TPR’s re-enrolment date tool can help you work out a date.

Once you’ve done your re-enrolment you must re-declare your compliance to TPR within five months of your three-year anniversary. It’s important that you don’t miss the deadline. If you have all the correct information handy, it can take as little as 15 minutes to complete the re-declaration.

You can find out more about re-enrolment here.