Skip to main content

Seafarers and Offshore Workers'Pensions: Automatic Enrolment

Volume 673: debated on Monday 16 March 2020

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of hon. and right hon. Members to bring to their attention secondary legislation to ensure that seafarers and offshore workers continue to benefit from automatic enrolment into workplace pensions.

Our workplace pension reforms are designed to address the fact that millions of people were not saving enough for their retirement, and automatic enrolment (AE) was created to help them with their long-term pension savings. AE has been a great success to date. Over 10 million people have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and more than 1.6 million employers have complied with their legal duties across the whole economy. It is estimated that 26,000 more workers in the maritime industries were saving into a workplace pension in 2019 as a result of AE.

After the Pensions Act 2008 became law, most employers were brought into AE duties via secondary legislation introduced in 2011 but it was decided to give more time for employers in the maritime industries to allow for fuller consideration of the circumstances of workers in this sector. Seafarers and offshore workers were subsequently brought into AE in July 2012, via regulations and an Order in Council, and following a further public consultation. The 2012 legislation included sunset clauses taking effect on 1 July 2020.

Following a post-implementation review (PIR) in 2018 (which can be viewed, here: and, based on the available evidence, the Government concluded that AE should continue to apply to all qualifying workers in the maritime industries. In order to deliver on the review’s recommendation, I am today announcing my intention to lay instruments in both Houses. These instruments will remove the sunset clause from the existing legislation so that it continues to provide for workplace pensions for eligible employees in those industries.

In accordance with section 149 of the Equality Act, I can confirm I have given due regard to the need to: eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act; advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. In respect of these instruments, I have considered my duties under section 31(3) of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. In my view, it is not appropriate to make provision for a further statutory review in The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

A regulatory impact assessment will be published alongside these instruments, and can be viewed at: The Regulatory Policy Committee has validated this impact assessment which has been given a green rating.

A copy of the committee’s opinion will be published on