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Can anyone advise me about a pension problem?

(21 Posts)
RJnomore1 Wed 29-Mar-17 09:09:48

Started with current employers temp in July 2012. They say I opted out pension then but only evidence is they refunded my first month payments - I genuinely have no memory of opting out but as I was temp I can believe I did.

They are a local authority and somewhere between me starting and Feb 2014 I got an email to say I would be auto enrolled. I definitely never opted out at this point as it was looking like I would be staying so I waited but they never enrolled me.

I know I should have been quicker but I've been in dialogue since last year with them - asyo why I was not autoenrolled as I believe I should be able to pay contributions from the staging date ?

Also I think they should be auto enrolling me again 3 years on so at the latest Feb 2017 (I've managed to get it set up from April 2017 I think)

Any advice greatly appreciated as I continue a spirited dialogue...

applesandpears33 Wed 29-Mar-17 17:04:09

Do you have any old payslips dating from 2012/2013? If you were paying pension contributions these should be marked clearly on the payslip.

Ellisandra Wed 29-Mar-17 23:46:45

If they said you were due to be auto enrolled and that didn't happen then that is terrible admin from them.

But if that was at least as long ago as Feb 2014 I think you need to share responsibility for not following it up - you knew you weren't paying any pension contribution, surely? From your payslips.

What is it you want them to do?

Ellisandra Wed 29-Mar-17 23:47:38

What is the trigger that makes you think they'd be auto-enrolling you again?

Lindy2 Thu 30-Mar-17 00:05:54

I'm not sure if auto enrol was even allowed back in 2012. Most schemes required an actual application to be completed.
If you haven't been paying contributions or receiving membership statements for the last 5 years you can't have been a member. It's a shame, particularly if an admin mistake was made, but you should really have made them aware deductions weren't being made as expected.

OutToGetYou Thu 30-Mar-17 00:12:06

Not all auto enrol involves an employee contribution in fact, ours doesn't because the employer pays more than the minimum needed so the employee does not need to pay anything.

No, there was no auto enrol in 2012 but in LA people were usually put in unless they opted out. And the LA pension does have an employee contribution.

OP - ask them for copies of all these opt outs they say you signed.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 06:53:54

Ok I will ask for copies. I'm on a secondment right now but I started this conversation a year ago.

I definitely received an email saying I would be autoenrolled prior to July 2014 when I changed roles and offices and on investigating the staging date ended February 2014 so it should have been prior to that.

That should have been regardless of any previous opt out as it was then a legal requirement.

Likewise thee is a 3 year trigger to opt out again which should at the latest have been February 2017.

I'm happy to pay in any contributions I missed due to their error but they are now saying I would be liable for employer contributions too which I think is bullshit - from the autoenroll date of Feb 2014 at least, I can't even be arsed arguing about July 2012 but I will ask to see all the opt outs.

my question really is if they didn't enrol me when the staging date means they had a legal requirement to do so can I get them to backdate their contributions?

TittyGolightly Thu 30-Mar-17 07:09:40

I'm not sure auto enrol covers people that have previously opted out.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:13:21

It does. I'm clear on that point thanks.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:17:46

Sorry that was a bit short -rushing to get out.

We were all informed we would be auto enrolled whether we had previously opted out or not when the staging date arrived and that we would need to them opt out of the auto enrollment. I am really hoping I kept these emails.

Millybingbong Thu 30-Mar-17 07:21:23

Have you got copies of the actual emails you mention? It sounds like you are saying you remember seeing them; but don't actually have them.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:31:07

I can't currently access my emails as I'm on secondment. They went to all eligible staff and shouldn't be hard to trace.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:32:55

Look I really appreciate the posts, thank you all for taking the time, but the question I need the answer to is if they did not auroebrol me by their error then are they liable for their back contributions, not a debate about emails. Does anyone know? I will try Acas when I get a chance.

Ellisandra Thu 30-Mar-17 07:34:01

If you haven't got them, ask the Pensions department for them, in the first instance - in writing.
Also ask colleagues - plenty of people are the type to file that sort of thing (I am!)
Might also be worth looking into whether a Freedom of Information Act will help you, as it sounds like your employer is a public body.
In the first instance though - just ask for a copy of all information emails sent to employees regarding auto entrolment.

For me personally, I would pursue everything from 2012 - pension is too valuable not to. That said - it sounds like you did opt out, and you certainly had your contributions refunded for first month so you were aware.

It's not just about the payment it's about the years of service. If your LGPS (assume you're talking about LGPS?) is a defined benefit scheme then the contributions from either of you aren't in an earmarked pot. But the payout will be based on accrued years of service, so i would want to get as many of those banked as possible.

TittyGolightly Thu 30-Mar-17 07:35:34

FOI doesn't deal with personal information.

A subject access request under the DPA would though.

TittyGolightly Thu 30-Mar-17 07:36:28

With Foi you could ask your local authority how much it cost them to build a road or why they decided to dig up a park, but nothing about personal data.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:39:35

The foi was for all staff emails relating to pension autoenrollment yeah? As in to all staff?

They are pretty poor in terms of HR/payroll. It's a constant battle which it really shouldn't be.

Ellisandra Thu 30-Mar-17 07:51:26

I wasn't sure about a subject access request - I thought that would cover specific personal data (like opt out forms) but not generic emails to all staff advising on pension procedure.

Anyway, OP can google both and see what applies.

Is it LGPS? Your individual HR/payroll team may be poor but LGPS is very clear in its documentation about handling opt in/out so that should work in your favour.

RJnomore1 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:53:39

Bloody hell why didn't I think of talking to the pension scheme <hits head off table>

TittyGolightly Thu 30-Mar-17 08:28:02

The foi was for all staff emails relating to pension autoenrollment yeah? As in to all staff?

They could probably exempt under FOI whereas under DPA it would show what was sent to you.

OutToGetYou Thu 30-Mar-17 11:48:25

RJnomore1 - everything in this message: Thu 30-Mar-17 06:53:54

Is correct. And, yes, they should pay it back if they made an error.

It sounds as if it got stuck between the cracks when you changed department.

If it is LGPS then speak to the scheme administrators, they are very hot on not accidentally opting people out. If no joy there, try the ombudsman.

Don't do an FOI request, that's for company information. If they do not turn up and you cannot find the emails and/or opt outs, then try a Data Protection Act Subject Access Request, that is for your personal data and may focus their minds, though to be honest if they say they don't have them when you ask and then turn them up in a SAR you've got to question their processes somewhat, eh?

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