Commenting on today’s TUC report “Fixing the Retirement Lottery”, NOW: Pensions’ Director of Policy Adrian Boulding said: “The TUC are spot on calling out the inequity of the £10,000 trigger for automatic enrolment and the qualifying earnings rule which excludes the first £5,876 of annual earnings from pensions until the mid 2020s.
“Many part time workers, particularly women juggling caring responsibilities, are being unfairly disadvantaged by these rules.”
Ahead of the Government’s 2017 Review of Automatic Enrolment, NOW: Pensions commissioned research from Pensions Policy Institute into the effect of these two rules on those with childcare responsibilities. The report revealed:
- For individuals who have taken a seven year career break and worked part-time for a while before coming back to full-time work until the end of their career, their final pension pot could increase by £10,000 (86%) by removing the earnings band, and by £22,000 (190%) by removing the £10,000 earnings trigger and qualifying earnings lower band.
- Someone with multiple part-time jobs could increase their final pension pot by £29,000 (140%) by removing the qualifying earnings lower band and by £41,000 (200%) by removing the £10,000 earnings trigger and the qualifying earnings lower band.
Adrian continued: “When we looked at the national data, the discrimination that automatic enrolment is promulgating became obvious. Over three quarters of the workers excluded by the £10,000 rule are women. We also found an inadvertent racial discrimination, as proportionately, some ethnic minorities, including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Chinese and Black African are more affected, as the number of those who earn less than £10,000 is higher than in the population as a whole.
“We support TUC in calling for these inequalities to be phased out, and phased out faster than the Government’s mid-2020s timetable for moving pensions contributions to the first pound of earnings.”
Notes to editors
- TUC report “Fixing the Retirement Lottery”
- Pensions Policy Institute Automatic Enrolment Changes, Research Report commissioned by NOW: Pensions