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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Pensions need not create a crisis for your charity

This opinion piece is over 10 years old
SCVO Payroll Service

WITH people living longer, it’s more important than ever to plan for retirement but the truth is that many of us are saving very little or nothing at all for our twilight years. There are lots of reasons for it, but it leaves a lot of questions around how we’re going to pay for our lifestyle after retirement.

That’s why the law on workplace pensions has changed. Automatic enrolment is being introduced to encourage people to save into a pension. Rather than individuals having to opt in to join a pension scheme, they will be automatically put into one by their employer as a matter of course. If they don’t want to be in the pension scheme, they must actively choose to opt out. So rather than the onus being on individuals to make a conscious decision to save into a pension, people now need to consciously choose not to.

It might feel a bit big brother but the option is there for people to opt out and for those who want the security of a pension it makes it much easier to achieve.

Automatic enrolment is being introduced in phases and employers are being given a staging date that signals when they need to have their new pension set up in place. Larger organisations of 250 employees or more have already held their staging date, and smaller organisations are set to follow.

It sounds easy in principle but the reality is proving to be a headache for many smaller organisations, many of whom don’t have a pension scheme in place to begin with.

You can understand why they may see it as yet more red tape and bureaucracy but there is sophisticated software out there that can take the brunt of the processes to integrate pensions into your payroll.

As a payroll provider, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has had to adapt all our systems to take care of the process for our clients.

It’s still not quite as easy as a click of the mouse but it’s probably fair to say we take the brunt of the hard work so our clients can get on with business as usual.

Outsourcing of payroll is a decision organisations take for different reasons but in the case of automatic enrolment it does makes life a lot easier for many. Handing over responsibility for the changes to an experienced external supplier reduces the cost, effort and stress involved.

But if the role of payroll provision sits at your own door, it’s time to knuckle down and get ready to auto-enrol your staff when the time is right. The good news is that Google is your friend when it comes to tracking down guidance for where to start and what to do. Search for the Pensions Regulator to find out more.

And if all else fails, get in touch if you’d rather just hand the job over!