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Workplace Pension Reform

Volume 546: debated on Monday 11 June 2012

Later today the Government will publish a response to the consultation document “Automatic Enrolment and European Employers”.

The Pensions Act 2008 introduces a duty on employers to automatically enrol jobholders into a workplace pension scheme. A jobholder is defined in the Act to include an individual,

“who is working or ordinarily works in Great Britain under the worker’s contract”.

A minority of workers may be “qualifying persons”—that is individuals employed under a contract of service and whose place of work under that contract is sufficiently located in another European economic area state so that their relationship with their employer is subject to the social and labour law relevant to the field of occupational pension schemes of that EEA state.

It is possible that a small number of individuals will have “dual-status”—being both a qualifying person and a jobholder simultaneously. This overlap means that there is a potential conflict between the employers’ duties to automatically enrol eligible jobholders and pension providers being able to offer a suitable product for this purpose.

It is my intention to lay regulations exempting European employers from automatically enrolling “dual-status” workers and ensure that employers are able to comply with the employers’ duties required by the Pensions Act 2008.

I would like to thank all those people and organisations who have offered their views and advice in response to the consultation. A copy of the Government’s response and the associated impact assessment will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be available later today on the Department’s website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/ consultations/2012/.