Advice on planning for a better future

ADVICE: Robert Wilson and Jonathan Holmes want to help small firms plan ahead for changes to pension schemes.
ADVICE: Robert Wilson and Jonathan Holmes want to help small firms plan ahead for changes to pension schemes.

EMPLOYERS have been urged to plan ahead as sweeping changes to pensions come into effect over the next three years.

A new compulsory pension scheme will be introduced by the government, requiring both employers and employees to make monthly contributions.

Employees who do not wish to build a pension pot will be able to opt out but will be automatically enrolled every three years.

The drastic change was prompted by the devaluation of state pensions and people living longer, creating a pension shortfall.

Companies that employ fewer than 50 people have until June 2015 to get up to speed.

Wilson and Holmes Employee Benefits (WHEB), based in Liversedge, has urged small businesses in North Kirklees to be pro-active.

The firm will be holding a free seminar next month that features guest speaker and pension expert Steve Bee.

Director Robert Wilson said: “You have to start planning early for these changes.

“We are trying to help people in this area to act now, rather than take the ‘ostrich’ approach where you bury your head because it doesn’t seem to affect you.

“But it does affect everyone, you cannot get away from it.”

He added it was a big coup to have such a respected pensions expert available to give one of his trademark seminars that breaks down a complicated topic into plain English.

Co-director Jonathan Holmes explained the challenges facing small companies.

“From 2015, small companies will have to do the auto-enrolment for all of their employees,” he said.

“Once it is set up, employers will contribute three per cent of band earnings, with employees putting in a further four per cent.

“The problem for firms is when employees opt-out of the scheme. Staff can opt-out every three years within a certain window.

“That means there is a large paper trail to keep track of who is in or out. As well as other compliance requirements.

“Bigger firms have HR departments to deal with it, but smaller firms don’t have that. That is where we can help.

“This seminar is a chance for local businesses to hear from an industry expert on how to prepare for this change.”

The seminar is on March 7 at Cleckheaton Sports Centre from 9am.

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