View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a560536
Workers told to snitch on employers who obstruct their Nest eggs
LibDem minister Steve Webb has urged workers to blow the whistle on employers who put pressure on staff to opt out of a new company pension.
Pensions minister Steve Webb has urged workers to blow the whistle on employers who put pressure on staff to opt out of a company pension.
Under new rules employers who do not offer staff a company pension will be forced to auto-enrol employees into the government’s National Employment Saving Trust (Nest) in a process that starts with larger firms later this year.
Employers and employees will each contribute a proportion of the paid salary to the scheme, 3% and 4% respectively.
However, although employees will be automatically enrolled into Nest, they can opt out of saving through the government plan. This has led to fears that smaller employers, who may view the 3% contribution level as an unnecessary financial burden, will encourage staff to leave the scheme.
Webb said ‘there was an absolute commitment to policing small firms that push people to move out [of Nest]’ and the government would set up a whistleblowing scheme for employees to report companies that strong-arm staff into opting out.
‘There will be a whistleblowing scheme [set up for employees]…unfortunately we cannot be sure [employers] are not abusing [their position],’ he said.
‘We are doing something good [by auto-enrolling employees] but not everyone is going to play by the rules, however, that is not a reason for not doing it.’
Webb added that the Department for Work and Pensions would survey every person who opts out to find out the reasons behind it.
Although Webb would not give a specific figure on what the government considers a success rate for auto-enrolment, which will affect 10 million people, he said to get ‘five to eight million people saving for the first time would be fantastic’.
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