A recent case stands as a good reminder to employers to be careful when distinguishing between pensionable employment under a pension scheme’s rules and employment under a contract of employment.
Our experienced social business team provides advice and guidance on all aspects of strategic pension advice for co-operatives and mutuals in the social-business sector.
Pension costs are a significant part of an organisations overall operational costs; managing these costs is imperative to ensuring future sustainability. Many smaller organisations have been affected by an increase in pension costs since auto-enrolment obligations began, and given the penalties for non-compliance, careful planning and monitoring is essential.
Many social businesses, including co-operatives and mutuals, will participate in one of the public-sector pension schemes. When a social business has spun-out from local government, it is usually a requirement that they participate in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
When a social business is bidding for local government contracts the requirement to ensure that transferred staff can access the LGPS, or a comparable scheme, is more important than ever. It is crucial that a contractor understands the risks they are likely to be taking on, including variable contribution rates, additional contributions, and exit payments.
At Anthony Collins Solicitors our social business team has considerable experience in advising on and negotiating detailed pension agreements in outsourcing situations. We work in partnership with contractors in the social-business sector to ensure that they understand the agreements they are entering into and that they are safeguarding themselves against associated risks.
Our strategic pension advice for social businesses
We regularly work with social businesses, supporting and advising them on all aspects of strategic pension advice. Our bespoke service includes:
- Advising on additional pension contributions to LGPS that can be payable in redundancy and restructuring situations, and when staff take early release of pension benefits on grounds of ill health.
- Advising LGPS employers on how best to manage change programmes to minimise the impact this has on redundancy and business efficiency.
- Helping employers to ensure that decisions on ill-health benefits are appropriately managed to avoid unnecessary costs.
- Helping LGPS employers to manage their cost pressures by ensuring that they have robust policies in place, dealing with the exercise of discretions under the LGPS regulations.
- Creating policies to outline how certain discretions will be exercised.
- Supporting LGPS employers and pension funds to manage appeals under the internal dispute resolution procedure.
- Advising social businesses on their auto-enrolment obligations and whether staff should be enrolled or not, either because their pay varies or because they are not a typical type of worker.
Our extensive experience in this area and our sector knowledge means that we are able to advise quickly and cost efficiently, allowing time to be focused elsewhere and minimising the risk of applications to the Pensions Ombudsman.
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