EDF Energy plans to boost take-up of its final salary pension scheme with a new communications drive. It is a move which goes against the trend of closing defined benefit (DB) schemes and supports EDF’s introduction of a new final salary plan in 2004. The company will specifically target employees who are not currently members of the scheme.
Around 1,500 out of the company’s 11,500 employees are not scheme members. Beth Hurt, pension administration and communications manager, said that EDF was not concerned about increasing pension costs by attracting new members. "The additional cost to the company of more staff joining is not a factor here. The scheme is open to all staff, so the commitment is there from the company."
Hurt added that many employees might not be fully aware of the benefits of joining the scheme. "It is not just a pension when you are 65, but also the death-in-service cover that they are not getting. A lot of people who don’t join pension schemes these days do it through apathy and we are trying to attack that – break down those walls and get people engaged. If, at the end of the day, they decide they still don’t want to be in it then they have done that on an informed basis, not because they don’t understand the benefits in the scheme."
EDF automatically enrols new joiners to the scheme and existing staff who had previously opted out of other company schemes were given the chance to join when the current scheme launched two years ago.
Hurt said non-joiners had given various reasons for their decision. "We have done some research and the answers we are getting back are things like they can’t afford to join or they perceive that they can’t afford to join, they don’t think they are going to be with the company very long, they have other pension provision or that they are making alternative savings," she said.
It is currently devising its communications campaign with the company Talking People.