Well I’m finally back in the land of the living after having been laid low by some kind of sickness bug that’s going around. Last Monday I wasn’t feeling too good and the next thing I knew it was Thursday; the talk I did as part of the Never-Ending Pensions Tour on Friday over near Reading is still something of a blur and was probably nothing short of heroic looking back on it. But I’m OK now and feeling well enough to start bothering you all again.
I did a talk last night up in London to a whole bunch of finance directors and it sort of got me back in the swing of things, kind of recharged my batteries. On my way home from that gig I was reading the early morning press on my i-Phone (I know, how flash is that?) and I saw something that really amused me. Apparently there’s a new disaster movie coming out next year and guess what? It’s called ‘2012’, that’s what. I mean, how good’s that?
The first thing I thought was that some film director or other had been reading the BeeHive or something and had cottoned on to what’s going down in the UK from 2012, but that’s not it. The film’s all about all kinds of natural disasters hitting Southern California all at once in 2012 that’s all. A missed opportunity if you ask me, but there’s still time for a British director to take up the challenge I guess.
If film directors aren’t noticing the palaver that’s about to be unleashed on employers from 2012 it’s reassuring that the National association of Pension Funds (the NAPF) has. I just read a press release from the NAPF that calls for an ‘injection of common-sense’ to be applied to our pension reforms. Well, I couldn’t agree more and I’ve copied and pasted the whole press release here so you can see just what they are proposing:
PENSION REFORMS REQUIRE FURTHER INJECTION OF COMMON SENSE
The latest batch of draft regulations on the Government’s 2012 pension reforms1 requires a dose of common sense if the rules are to work in the real world, the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has told the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
The NAPF believes the draft regulations are too bureaucratic and prescriptive. Instead, the DWP should start from the assumption that the vast majority of employers who already offer good workplace pension schemes will do their utmost to comply with the new requirements.
The NAPF has recommended a number of key proposals in its response to the consultation. These include:
Employers should be given more flexibility over the date on which they have to automatically enrol their staff. The DWP should not prescribe a specific day in the month but should allow employers a choice, so that they can align auto- enrolment with existing payroll processes.
The period that employers have to provide information to the Pensions Regulator should be extended to three calendarmonths after the auto-enrolment date. This would give employers one full calendar month after the opt-out period ends to collate information.
Employers who already offer good quality schemes should be able to use waiting periods when auto-enrolling short term workers, but only once per employment period. This would save unnecessary administrative costs for employers while also protecting the rights of short term workers.
NAPF Director of Policy, Nigel Peaple, said:
“The NAPF continues to support the 2012 pension reforms and we were pleased that the DWP listened to our concerns on a number of issues in the first batch of auto-enrolment regulations. But we are concerned that the Government does not understand how employers, whether large or small, operate in practice.
“Unless there is more flexibility and less prescription in the second batch of regulations, the risk of undermining existing good workplace pension schemes will remain.”
“This is why we have called on the Government to put in place a joint employer, industry, Pensions Regulator and DWP working group to look at how the reforms can be implemented successfully by employers and pension schemes.”
Notes to Editors
1 The DWP Consultation “Workplace Pension Reform – Completing the Picture” can be found at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/workplace-pension-reform- completing-the-picture-consultation240909.pdf
2. The NAPF response to the above consultation can be found at
11 November 2009
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