Auto-enrolment ‘pause’ considered if capacity crunch happens

A report from the NAO on the roll-out of auto-enrolment so far includes the following statement about DWP’s plans to handle the 1.8m employers who have to stage over the next two years:

“As a last resort it has set out an ‘emergency pause’ procedure to apply if the programme was unable to cope with unexpected increases in demand or changes in behaviour.”

Let’s hope that this isn’t the case, given the employees who need to embrace workplace pension saving more than anybody are those who work for small and micro employers. Equally, it would be inequitable for those who happen to work for a such employers to be denied access to employer contributions and government tax relief, simply because they happen to work for an employer who has a staging date that falls when the industry is under pressure.

For the payroll bureaus to be able to cope and avoid their part of the process causing a logjam, we need the pensions industry and payroll software to embrace more automation of maintenance and contribution files, as provided by innovative solutions such as Pensionsync and ITM.