The law on workplace pensions has changed and will impact every employer with at least one member of staff in relation to pension enrolment and contributions.
This new system is called automatic enrolment and the changes to the implementation of pension regulations mean service users who receive local authority funding for their carers and personal assistants through a direct payment will now be legally required to provide workplace pension schemes for them. The first service users were captured by the changes in June of this year and from January 2016 onwards the numbers of service users required to make the changes will escalate.
Service users need to know when they have to put a new pension scheme in place and the Pension Regulator is in the process of writing to everyone to advise them of this date, commonly known as the ‘staging date’. By this date, service users will have to have set up a workplace pension scheme, written to their carers or personal assistants to inform them of the scheme and the process – and assessed their eligibility.
Service users must then manage requests from their personal assistants or carers who chose to opt in or out of the pension scheme.
Service users must then register their scheme with the Pension Regulator and maintain statutory records.
This is where payroll service providers can give much needed support and expertise to their clients. Pensions and payroll sit very much together and the whole pension administration process should be carried out by payroll providers or departments.
In addition to the administration demands placed upon micro-employers such as service users, inevitably there are additional costs to be borne. The pressure is being felt by cash strapped local authorities throughout the UK, as the burden of this additional cost facing their service users will have to be met by them.
PayPacket is one such provider of specialist payroll and pension advice. It supports more than 3500 service users who receive a direct payment and employ their own PA or carers. It works nationwide and has been actively supporting more than 60 local authorities with guidance and information regarding these important changes, through a series of seminars and attendance at team meetings.
John Robinson, managing director of PayPacket said: “If the person who delivers care is provided by a caring agency or a local authority, then the auto-enrolment duties will fall with them. But if someone directly employs one or more people to provide the care or personal assistance, then it is the service user who will take on auto-enrolment duties.
“We understand that the auto-enrolment process may be daunting for the service users but we make the complex process as straight forward as possible for them. Communication is the key and we have ensured that all our clients are aware of the impending changes and more importantly, that we can take care of it for them.
“Equally challenging, however, has been the process of providing education, guidance and advice to local authority direct payment support teams themselves as they are at the front line and need to be aware of the additional responsibilities that their service users will shortly face. We have run seminars and have attended numerous team meetings to make sure that the message is clearly understood.”
Through these seminars, the advisors at PayPacket, along with experts from the Pensions Regulator have shared best practice and practical advice with more than 100 local authorities, giving guidance on how they can work alongside the social services teams to provide the best possible outcomes for their service users.
PayPacket is providing a suite of documents which will help local authorities communicate service users’ responsibilities and help them end to end, setting up their pension and administering it and ensuring full statutory compliance.
PayPacket works with more than 60 local authorities, managing the payroll and pension needs of their clients. Paypacket offers a comprehensive payroll service. The company has more than 50 years’ combined experience in payroll management and take responsibility for paying more than 1000 people per week. The Paypacket Payroll scheme ensures everything is covered – from calculating wage payments, to making sure all statutory returns are made and generate payslips and reports. Find out more at paypacket.co.uk