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 government has issued a statement of policy intent to encourage individuals with occupational pensions to take appropriate pensions guidance. It has said that it will bring section 19 of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 into force. This requires the secretary of state to make regulations placing duties on trustees to point a member in the direction of appropriate pensions guidance when accessing “flexible benefits” and to ensure the member has either received the guidance or opted out from receiving it.
The Pensions Dashboards Programme has published a progress report setting out the six stages of development and timelines. Most notably, dashboards are scheduled to be available to the public from 2023.
HM Treasury has confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to close at the end of October, will remain open until December 2020. The introduction of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been postponed until the CJRS ends. HM Treasury’s press release indicates that the extended CJRS will operate in a similar manner to the way in which the CJRS operated in August. For the hours not worked by a furloughed employee, the government will cover 80% of wages (up to a maximum of £2,500), but the employer will still have to pay employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions. Where the employee works some of their normal hours, employers should continue to pay the employee in full for those hours. Further guidance has been promised and the information released so far has been outlined in this publication by our Labour & Employment team.
HMRC has issued pension schemes newsletter 125, which includes information for administrators and trustees about relief at source annual returns (an electronic signature is still required if a wet signature is not possible), the deletion of government gateway credentials where business tax accounts have not been accessed in the last three years and confirmation that the protected pension age easement expired on 1 November 2020.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.