Every business in the land is focused on navigating its way through the difficult trading conditions we all find ourselves in. So you would have thought that our government, regulators and legislators would have called "time out" on extra regulatory costs to help UK PLC get back on its feet, but apparently not so.
Brussels and Westminster appear intent on adding new legislation that will have an enormous effect on your business, despite the economic climate.
In this bulletin we will avoid the temptation of going into detail on particular measures and instead step back and take an overview what is to come to help you to identify the new measures that are about to arrive at, or are already on your doorstep.
To be absolutely clear about what Brussels and Westminster have done, we have listed the new measures they have imposed in the table below. The legislation imposing these measures has already been enacted and regulations are in the pipeline.
|Legislation & Regulation ||When does it come into force? |
|Equality Act 2010 |
(extends previous Equality Acts)
|1st October 2010 |
5th APRIL 2011
|Scrapping the Default Retirement Age ||6th April 2011 |
6th October 2011
|EU Solvency 2 Directive ||November 2012 |
|EU Gender Directive ||December 2012 |
|Workplace Pensions Auto-enrolment |
(Pensions Act 2008)
|December 2012 |
Regular readers will know that we have already covered most of these topics in more detail in earlier bulletins. Nevertheless we believe that it can only help to provide a reminder of what is in store and provide links to more information on each of the new requirements.
Equality Act 2010
This is an extension to previous Equality Acts and in the main clarifies or imposes measures on employment and discriminatory practices previously missed. Previous legislation has covered most of the issues on pay and benefits. ACAS and the Government Equalities office have produced good summaries for employers that can be found at:
Scrapping the default retirement age
We previously commented on this in the context of its affect on Group Risk benefits.
However, that article did not cover the costs that employers could incur when either accepting the cost of either constructing a formal "Objective Retirement Policy" or alternatively losing the ability to plan the turnover and skills of their workforce through retirement.
EU Solvency 2 and EU Gender Directive
We have listed the EU Solvency 2 regulations and the EU Gender directive together as issues because quite simply, their combined effect will be to adversely affect the price of annuities that are routinely used to secure employees pensions when they retire. Many have argued that these measures are an unwelcome interference from Europe just at the time that Westminster imposes compulsory workplace pension schemes on UK employers.
Read our previous comments on the EU Gender directive.
Workplace Pensions Auto-Enrolment
This subject has now received much coverage although, surprisingly we are still finding employers who think that it will in some way not apply to them or have not heard of it. Clearly every UK employer will at the very least have to adapt their existing practices if not amend them. We previously commented on Auto-enrolment.
The Pensions Regulator has provided an overview and details of key dates:
It is natural that employers will be focused on sustaining and planning the future of their business. However, the measures we have covered in this bulletin cannot be ignored and we hope that it has served as a useful reminder.
If any additional information is required on any of these topics please contact us.