In light of ongoing developments with coronavirus (COVID-19) we wanted to tell you about the steps we are taking to ensure business continuity during the coming weeks while prioritising the health of our colleagues and our clients.
What we are doing to protect our clients and our colleagues
The health and wellbeing of our colleagues and our clients is at the forefront of our plans. As well as closely following government guidelines, we are taking the following steps:
- All our employees are now working remotely
- We will not be hosting meetings at our offices until further notice
- We respectfully ask that our clients consider conference calls as an alternative to face-to-face meetings
- We have limited non-essential business travel and minimised external meetings
- Our teams are in constant communication and we have set up an emergency response group to co-ordinate our communications and to ensure that we take all recommended precautions.
How we will continue to provide your service
Rest assured that we have been planning carefully to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest levels of service in these extraordinary circumstances. If you need support, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping on top of workplace pension administration
We understand that some businesses are having to change their priorities because of the coronavirus. However, it’s important that you continue to import the relevant payroll data in the normal timescales.
Please note, The Pensions Regulator has been explicit that it expects employers to continue contributing.
It has, however, stated: “We know this is a challenging time for everyone and we recognise the strain this is putting on employers. We will take a proportionate and risk-based approach towards enforcement decisions, in light of these challenging times, with the aim of helping to get employers back on track and supporting both employers and savers.”
You can find out more from TPR on Covid-19 here and contact TPR here.
If you do fall behind on the import process, here are some reminders to help you stay on top of your workplace pension administration.
File imports – remember to import your outstanding files in date order.
Employee communications – we won’t issue any communications about enrolments or opt-outs to your employees until we’ve received all your file imports. If you’ve enrolled any employees and they want to opt out, they can’t do this until we’ve received the correct file import for that pay period and issued the enrolment notices.
Deductions – please make sure any contributions that have been deducted are earmarked for future collection. When your file imports are brought back up to date, this will ensure that we can invest the contributions as soon as possible.
Contribution levels – please ensure that contributions are in line with, or more than, the statutory minimum (8% of qualifying earnings in total, with at least 3% coming from you as the employer).
Contributions for unpaid staff – if you’re not currently paying staff, no pension contributions are due. If you’re paying some staff, but not others, simply amend the relevant contribution amounts, gross pay and pensionable earnings columns to ‘0’ for those employees who haven’t been paid, then upload the file as normal. If you’re not paying any staff, please log on to Gateway and select the ‘Null submission’ option for the relevant payroll.
Pay period 53 – as it’s a leap year, there will be an extra pay period – pay period 53. For the 2019/2020 tax year, this falls on Sat 4 April and Sun 5 April 2020. If you run a weekly, two-weekly or four-weekly payroll you may need to complete an additional period after week 52 to finish your PAYE tax year. Find out more.
Qualifying earnings and auto enrolment trigger
Ahead of the new tax year, we’ve put together a quick reminder of key changes for workplace pensions. These include the auto enrolment trigger, the qualifying earnings band and new lifetime allowance.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Patrick Luthi, CEO, NOW: Pensions