Nine out of 10 small employers that have not reached their pensions auto-enrolment staging date yet want the process to be delayed until the new raft of pension reforms are complete, according to research by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).
The ACA 2014 Smaller firms’ pension survey, which surveyed 414 organisations with 249 or fewer employees, found that six out of ten of respondents are supportive of the new pensions flexibility, while one in ten are opposed.
The research also found that 56% of respondents support further changes to pensions, whereby current levels of pension tax relief are more targeted to those with lower incomes.
More than a third also said tax relief should be further restricted for those on higher incomes.
Among the 57% of respondents that have yet to auto-enrol, awareness of staging dates and budgeting appears low, with only 46% of respondents saying they are aware of these.
The research also found that:
- The median opt-out level of employees from the 43% of respondents that have auto-enrolled employees is between 11% and 15%.
- 57% of respondents with 10 to 49 employees plan to use the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) to auto-enrol employees.
- 62% of respondents with 10 or more employees are clear about when they must auto-enrol eligible employees.
David Fairs (pictured), chairman of ACA, said: “To date, auto-enrolment has been a success, boosting the numbers covered by workplace pensions in 34,000 mid-sized and large employers by over 4.7 million people.
“But in a three-year period from the middle of this year, over one million small employers will have to meet the auto-enrolment challenge, three-quarters with four or fewer employees.
“It is right that pension provision should be available to employees in even the smallest firms, but with so many pension reforms being squeezed into a short time-frame, it cannot be surprising that smaller employers are calling for a delay in auto-enrolment.
“We believe that there could be some sense in pausing the dates when employers with fewer than 50 employees are due to auto-enrol, namely those due to auto-enrol from 1 June 2015 onwards.”