Employers may be vulnerable to employee compensation claims (guest blog from BrightPay)

brightpay 2BrightPay-white@2xIt is important that employers take time to consider the various pension options before choosing a pension scheme for their employees. A lack of care or thought when making critical pension decisions may have a negative effect on employers in the future. This could happen when disgruntled employees start taking class action against their employers for lack of time dedicated to pension decisions.

The Pensions Bill 2016-17 acknowledges that the employer has little incentive to pick a pension scheme that offers the best benefits for their employees. Although amendments to the bill have been proposed to rectify this problem, no changes have been implemented.

Under the Pensions Act 2008, employers must ensure all eligible employees are enrolled into any qualifying automatic enrolment scheme by the company’s staging (or postponement) date. Therefore, there is no required reason why an employer would have to choose the most beneficial pension scheme. However, in order to maintain a happy workforce, the majority of employers should choose an appropriate pension scheme for their employees.

The Pensions Regulator has published a set of good governance standards. However, these standards are not mandatory and so cannot be enforced. If an employer fails to meet these recommendations then they are not at risk of being fined by The Pension Regulator. However, under case law, employers must still show they have done reasonable research when choosing a workplace pension. A major failing would be if there was no audit trail on how the scheme was chosen.

Employers should be aware of TPR’s guidance regarding choosing a scheme or they could be vulnerable to a claim from employees if the employer has breached their employment duties. Employers must take care when deciding on which workplace pension to use for automatic enrolment.

The Employer Responsibility

Each employer is responsible for choosing their workplace pension scheme and they may also be responsible for selecting the fund profiles of the pension. Employers must take responsibility for their financial company decisions. It is unclear how much liability will result as a result of poor decision making. Choosing a workplace pension that offers a financial advantages to your employees can result in a major difference to their retirement pot. If it can be proven that an employer has breached one of their employment duties and where foreseeable loss occurred from that breach, the employer may have to compensate the employee?

Employers don’t have to invest large amounts of time or money when choosing a pension scheme. You do need to make sure that you put some thought into the decision making process. Part of this will require an employer to record the steps taken to find an appropriate scheme for their employees.

This blog was written by Adam Keenan of Brightpay and published with BrightPay’s kind permission.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to Employers may be vulnerable to employee compensation claims (guest blog from BrightPay)

  1. Ralph Frank says:

    “under case law, employers must still show they have done reasonable research when choosing a workplace pension” Which cases are being referred to here?


  2. PeterCB says:

    Is it not all available to the employer on the Pensions Playpen?


  3. Alan Chaplin says:

    I don’t see this happening. Aside from very rare occasions where an employer goes completely off piste and picks “their mate’s” scheme, I really struggle to see how picking a qualifying scheme will not be good enough. They are registered with HMRC and regulated by tPR and possibly FCA. We know that that means very little about the quality but to prove it is unreasonably for an employer to rely on that seems a very difficult challenge to me.

    In an attempt to answer Ralph’s question, I was unable to find a case where an employer was sued for poor choice of pension provider…

    If the US style actions migrate here, I think it will be trustees/providers at risk where they have paid unnecessary fees to investment managers.


  4. Peter Beattie says:

    As being a FAS/PPF pensioner who suffered loss due to Gordon Brown’s punitive financial policies of the 1990’s, I would like to ask what protection do us pensioners or, those ‘deferred’ due to no fault of their own, would have when things go ‘pear shaped’ and get stuck with ‘government malfeasance’ that continues to this day and a problem never addressed. If a company gets sold, a provider collapses or if there is a default in any way – who will be responsible to pay full pension that an individual paid for?


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