The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) was this week invited to the launch of the new brand name of the Government’s personal accounts scheme.
Now permanently renamed the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), the event was attended by the Minister of State for Pensions Angela Eagle and provided a further opportunity for the REC to highlight the practical difficulties that the new personal pension accounts scheme could create for professional recruiters when it comes into force in 2012.
Under the workplace pension scheme all workers, including agency workers, will be automatically enrolled onto a pension scheme when they start work with the voluntary option of opting out. The employer contribution will start at one per cent and rise to three per cent by 2016/17. Workers will add a further four per cent and another one per cent will be made up in tax relief.
Anne Fairweather, the REC’s Head of Public Policy who attended the launch, said afterwards:
“Our main issue is that this scheme was designed primarily for a stable workforce. The fluctuations within the agency work market will present real challenges for professional recruiters who will be responsible for automatically enrolling and then possibly refunding workers. This would create a huge administrative strain for agencies, especially as even very short assignments would be covered.”
Although the scheme will not start until 2012, the next year will be crucial in terms of influencing how it will operate in practice.
Commenting on the need to ensure that the industry’s voice is at the forefront of the debate, Anne Fairweather added:
“The launch of NEST provided a further opportunity to highlight our concerns to the highest levels of Government. The REC will continue to campaign for a scheme which fits the agency market and for a common start date for all agencies, rather than a phased approach, in order to avoid distortions in the market place.
“We still have a long way to go but we will continue to work closely with Government and pensions providers to ensure the best possible outcome for the industry”.
As part of the ongoing campaign on pensions reform the REC is in regular dialogue with the Department for Work and Pensions as well as the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) and the Pensions Regulator. The REC is also working with the Shadow Pensions team to ensure positive outcome under a possible Conservative administration.
For more information about the REC’s pensions campaign, visit the website, www.rec.uk.com/about-recruitment/externalrelations/campaigns/pensions.
For more details about NEST, visit the PADA website, www.padeliveryauthority.org.uk