Workplace pensions aren’t a puzzle – Michael Lansdell

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  Posted by: The Probe      3rd May 2018

Every practice owner knows the importance of a loyal workforce. A happy team that is well looked after will be productive and perform every task to the best of their individual abilities. In the dental setting, the obvious beneficiaries of these high standards are the patients, who will use a good experience to spread positive word-of-mouth. In turn, a reputation for excellence will help your practice to grow and thrive.

Looking after the people who work for you means keeping up-to-date with changes to employment law. For example, as a result of a law introduced in 2012, employers must offer a workplace pension scheme, which they enrol eligible individuals into and contribute towards. Back in 2012, only larger employers had to comply, but 2018 was set as the date when all employers – even if they only have one member of staff – have a duty to check if their employee(s) meet the requirements for automatic enrolment. Many dental practices across the UK will fall into the category of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) but we are now at the deadline for every employer to make sure that that they are fully prepared. The Pensions Regulator will check your compliance and you will need to declare it, too.

The main thing to remember is that it is an ongoing duty – so, even if a member of staff was not eligible for automatic enrolment when they started working for you, any subsequent changes to their earnings might alter this position. Monitoring salaries is therefore just as important for existing employers as it is for brand-new practice owners.

An employee’s right to opt-in to a pension scheme begins at a £5,876 annual salary (£490 monthly; £113 weekly) although automatic enrolment itself begins at £10,000 annual earnings (£833 monthly; £192 weekly) up to a limit of £45,000 annual earnings (£3,750 monthly; £866 weekly). This applies to anyone aged between 22 and the state pension age. These thresholds for 2017/18 are in line with national insurance contributions (NICs).

Coming up are changes to the minimum contributions. From 6 April 2018, for employees the total minimum contributions will be 5 per cent of earnings and for employers there will be a 2 per cent minimum. From April 2019 onwards, the total minimum contribution for employees will be set at 8 per cent of earnings. Both employer/employee can contribute more if they wish. As an employer, if you contribute more than the minimum, the shortfall that will have to be covered by staff contributions will obviously decrease.

Workplace pensions are a great way to save for retirement and so for most people opting in is usually a good idea. For your employees, knowing that you are encouraging the savings habit and are aware of your obligations with regards to automatic enrolment will secure their loyalty. They may also come to you with questions – they may have more than one job, for example – and you must be in a position to answer, or know the best place to direct them, if they want to research their options independently. If the topic of automatic enrolment is a minefield, get advice from specialist dental accountants, such as the experts at Lansdell & Rose, who have years of experience in working with practice owners and the dental industry in general. The team can help support your practice in all sorts of areas, from pensions to tax planning and business development.

 

Small changes to the law can make big changes to your employees’ financial planning and how they view you as an employer! Don’t get caught out, get up-to-date instead.

 

For more information please visit www.lansdellrose.co.uk or call Lansdell & Rose on 020 7376 9333.

 


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