Here is our brief weekly summary of key legal and regulatory developments relevant to occupational pension schemes, which you might have missed, with links for further information.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has issued a template to help trustees of occupational defined contribution schemes to meet the required standards when drafting their annual governance statement (also known as the chair’s statement). The template has the support of The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and should be useful, but trustees should always be mindful of their scheme’s specific circumstances and seek advice as necessary.
On Friday, the Chancellor announced plans to phase out the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) by the end of October. We summarise some of the key points below (for further details on the announcement please refer to this publication from our Labor & Employment team).
Furloughed employees will be able to work part time from 1 July. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work, but will be able to claim a CJRS grant for the employees’ normal hours not worked. Further guidance on “flexible furloughing” will be published on 12 June.
The amount that employers can claim from the CJRS will gradually be reduced, beginning with the withdrawal of CJRS funds to subsidise national insurance contributions and pension contributions from August.
The CJRS will be closed to new entrants from 30 June. From this date onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees who have already been furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June. In practical terms, this means that the final date by which employers can furlough any individual employee for the first time will be 10 June.
HMRC has updated newsletter 119 to extend the protected pension age easement to 1 November 2020 for employees returning to work due to COVID-19. The easement formed part of the Ministerial Statement, which we summarised in our 29 April weekly update.
In relation to GMPs, countdown bulletin 53 notes that HMRC plans to complete the issue of data cuts by the end of July. Only those schemes that engaged with the reconciliation service or scheme cessation process will receive final data cuts. HMRC confirms that in some circumstances the data cut will differ from the information on the GMP Checker service. Schemes should compare the data cut with their own records and if that does not correspond schemes should look at the GMP Checker service. Unresolved issues can be queried with HMRC through their Live Schemes Shared Workspace eRoom.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has updated its timeline on the submission of compliance statements in connection with its investigation into the investment consultancy and fiduciary management market. Pension trustees must submit compliance statements by no later than 7 January 2021. If the Department for Work and Pensions finalises the regulations implementing the CMA's Order before that date it is likely that a compliance statement would be made via the scheme return.
Our recent blog offers some thoughts on communicating with scheme members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign up to our blog to receive regular updates.