PA Knowledge Base

Are you eligible for a pension? A Pensions Update…

We thought it would be useful to give you some of the latest information presented at the event. It does all seem very complicated so get help and advice, talk to your employer and encourage them to speak to whoever does your payroll.

 

Why is it happening?

The law on workplace pensions has changed. Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put certain staff into a pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called “automatic enrolment”. If you are employed as a personal care assistant your employer will now have certain legal duties.

 

Will this affect me?

If you earn up to £5824 per year or £448 in 4 weeks from one employer and you are between 16 and 74:

  • You are an “Entitled Worker”. This means you can request to join a pension scheme but your employer does not have to contribute towards it
  • If you earn over £5824 and under £10,000 per year or £768 in 4 weeks from one employer:
  • You are a “non-eligible jobholder”. This means that you can opt- in to an automatic enrolment pension scheme if you want to.
  • If you earn more than £10,000 per year or £3261 in 4 weeks from one employer and you are aged between 22 and 74:
  • You are an “Eligible Jobholder” and your employer must automatically enrol you in a pension scheme, unless you choose to opt out.

Some PAs assume this will not apply to them because they consider themselves self-employed. But the Pensions Regulator states that if the PA is normally expected to do the work themselves (unless they are unable to do it themselves due to holiday or sickness) the PA/carer is considered to have a contract to perform work or services “personally”.

HMRC, employment law and now the Pensions Regulator consider it highly unlikely for any personal care assistant to be truly self employed and so the employer has a legal duty to check if the PAs earnings makes them eligible for a pension.

 

What does my employer need to do?

  • There is an online Duties Checker which can guide people through some simple questions to help the workout which legal duties apply to them. Your employer will need to know your PAYE reference, your letter code and your age and earnings.
  • Your employer will receive a letter from the Pensions Regulator giving a date when the law will apply to them – called their “staging date”. It will also give them a “declaration deadline” – this is the date by which they must tell the Pensions Regulator how they intend to meet their legal duties.
  • Your employer then needs to contact whoever supports them with their payroll. They will help them work out which PAs will be eligible for a pension scheme.
  • Your employer must then write to you within 6 weeks of the stating date. This is a legal requirement to explain how automatic enrolment applies to you even if you are not eligible.

The most important thing is to talk to your employer about this. This is not something that can be ignored!

 

Other useful links

Click here for further reading on Auto Enrolment
Click here to download The Essential Guide for People who Employ Their Own Care and Support Staff (Adobe PDF 286kb)