Results from the latest three-yearly valuation of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) are starting to trickle through.
Housing providers are increasingly reviewing the pension benefits that they provide to staff. Many participate in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and/or the Social Housing Pension Scheme, but with reducing income streams they are reviewing whether they can continue to offer defined benefit pensions. This is where you may need strategic pension advice for your business.
With so many providers having to restructure or change terms and conditions, it is vital to minimise the substantial pension strain costs that can arise in the LGPS, both in redundancy and restructuring situations. Often these costs are unavoidable, but we have advised a number of LGPS employers on how best to manage change programmes to minimise the impact on redundancy and business efficiency. We also help employers ensure that decisions on ill-health benefits are appropriately managed, to avoid unnecessary costs.
Our strategic pensions advice service
Some providers have made the decision to close access to defined-benefit pensions, either for all staff or for new joiners. Where the decision is to close them to all staff, consultation is required with a view to reaching agreement with staff about that change. We have helped a number of providers to close access to defined-benefit pensions schemes, working with them to ensure effective consultation and negotiation with a view to reaching agreement, as well as advising on how to go forward if agreement can’t be reached. As part of our service, we help to liaise with pension schemes to agree the terms of exit, including how exit payments will be structured, where relevant.
With the lifetime allowance affecting an increasing number of staff, we advise on putting in place alternative arrangements for those who have reached the lifetime allowance. Additionally, with housing providers looking to merge, form new group structures or re-organise existing ones, we help to ensure that there is no unexpected crystallisation of employer debts, as a result of the arrangements put in place.
Some providers are looking to grow their income by bidding for contracts with local authorities or NHS commissioners. When bidding, the requirement to ensure that transferred staff can still access the LGPS or NHS Pension Schemes (or a broadly comparable scheme) is more relevant than ever. The risks of variable contribution rates, additional contributions, exit payments and the requirement to obtain a bond are significant, and being clear about what risks a contractor is expected to take on is critical. We have considerable experience in advising on, and negotiating, detailed pension arrangements in outsourcing situations and helping providers ensure that they understand the arrangements they are entering into, so that risks can be managed appropriately. Our experience in advising commissioners, as well as providers, means that we are able to provide valuable insight into the approach taken.
If you would like further information about pensions or how our employment team can help you, please get in touch.
Provisions within the Housing and Planning Act that remove the need for housing associations (“HAs”) to obtain consent from the Regulator to dispose of social housing (as well as to merge or enter new group structures) come into force on 6 April.
Such freedoms will allow HAs greater flexibility over how they use their assets and, potentially, how they structure their businesses. Our expert panel gathered to discuss the possible opportunities the deregulatory measures offer, together with the likely hurdles. Read the outcome of their discussion here.
Specialist in pensions and employment law.
We have been recognised for the work we do
A recent case stands as a good reminder to employers to be careful when distinguishing between pensionable employment under a pension scheme’s rules and employment under a contract of employment.
Non-UK nationals will surely be worried about an uncertain future, with much still unclear. These feelings will inevitably accompany people to work, and so employers need to be prepared.
The Government has this week resurrected its proposals to cap exit payments for public sector workers at £95,000.
A sizeable North Lincolnshire social housing provider has learnt the hard way that, whilst honesty is the best policy, it does not mean you’ll evade the consequences of your actions.
The Government announced in April 2018 that they would release new proposals at the end of 2018 and so, as we stretch in 2019, we now have the new consultation proposals.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) held in Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust that “normal” remuneration included voluntary overtime if it was paid over a sufficient period.
Employers are having to walk a fine line between protecting their interests whilst also ensuring that they are not breaching their employees’ rights.
The sanctions against employers who knowingly or unknowingly employ individuals who do not have the correct immigration status to work in the UK are stringent.
Under the Working Time Regulations (WTR) a worker is entitled to a 20 minute rest break away from their workstation if their daily working time exceeds six hours. However, there are limited circumstan
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.