With Auto Enrolment pretty much in full swing I take a look at what NEST can offer your business.
In 2008 the government introduced a new pension law. This was bought in to help you save and help you so you’re not relying on a state pension. With Auto Enrolment most workers will be enrolled into the pension scheme without having to ask (making it hassle free for everyone).
So first of all what is NEST?
NEST has been set up by the government especially for Auto Enrolment. A very big selling point of NEST for me is that it is completely free for employers and professionals a like to use. NEST stands for National Employment Savings Trust.
I feel because NEST is a government scheme people hold the perception that it is there purely to meet the regulatory minimum. This is definitely not the case, NEST comes packed with high quality features that enable you to build and maintain a first class pension scheme for you and your employees. I’ll go into further detail as we move through the post.
NEST is an online based scheme that can be accessed both quickly and easily by logging into your online account (whether you are an employer or employee). You can log into NEST whenever and wherever it suits you (so whether you are sunning yourself in the Bahamas or working from the comfort of your home NEST is available 24/7)
NEST ultimately works around you, it can either be used as your primary scheme or can sit alongside the existing scheme. A big plus for us is that NEST pots move with the employee, so if an employee decides to leave your employment you as the employer will no longer hold the responsibility for that employee’s retirement pot.
When you hear the word NEST it can sound daunting, this is definitely not the case (and I’m not just saying this). With NEST you can assign help from a third party (like ourselves) or use delegates within your organisation. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the scheme can be managed by dedicated professional.
Who is using NEST?
Most people believe that NEST is only suitable for small businesses, this isn’t true! NEST cater for businesses large or small. You’ll also be surprised to know that NEST do not only care about the employer, they also care about the employee and they make it very easy for employees to start planning ahead and growing their retirement pot.
What happens next?
Once enrolled your employees will receive a welcome pack explaining the ins and outs of the workplace pension. Alongside the welcome pack the employees receive their own dedicated log in. So they can keep up to date with their every growing pension pot.
Opting out of NEST
Working in payroll I deal with a large number of NEST schemes per day. I have found that we get a lot of queries from our clients employees because they are unsure on how to opt out of the scheme. Although this may seem a daunting task, let me tell you now it is very simple. Employees can opt out, online, over the phone or by post. I wouldn’t recommend the postal side because employees have to call NEST to request a paper form. The easiest way to opt out is online or by phone as it takes no time at all and the contributions will stop immediately.
It is recommended that if employees want to opt out they do it before the end of the opt out period. The opt out period ends around one month after your employee is enrolled. If they do this then they will be refunded of any contributions made so far. You as the employer would refund the employee direct and then NEST would refund any contributions paid over into your account.
The decision is the employees
I would always recommend that employees stay in the scheme rather than opt out. Ultimately this is up to them but to me it is a no brainer. The employees get tax relief from the government and contributions from you as the employer.
I think you’ll agree there is more to NEST than meets the eye….