By Marcus Leach

Workplace pensions law is changing and every employer must act.

From 2012 changes to pensions law will affect every employer in the UK, these changes will help more people save for retirement. If you are an employer you must comply with the law; this will mean new duties for you.

The changes mean that as an employer you must automatically enrol certain members of your workforce into a pension scheme and make a contribution towards the pension fund. The scheme must be a qualifying scheme suitable for automatic enrolment, meaning it must meet certain government standards.

A new pension scheme, NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) has been established, it is available to any employer who chooses to use it. This will enable all employers to provide a pension scheme for their workers using NEST or, where the scheme meetings the necessary requirements, their own scheme or another pension provider.

Payroll administrators will be able to assist employers in meeting the obligation to ensure that certain members of the employer's workforce are automatically enrolled into a suitable qualifying pension scheme, whether this is NEST or an alternative scheme, and make sure that contributions are made on the employer's behalf.

The Pensions Regulator is the UK regulator of work-based pensions. It has been running a campaign with industry representatives over the past few months to increase awareness of automatic enrolment (amongst employers and their advisers).

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and The Pensions Regulator are working together to ensure that employers are properly supported in complying with the new duties. HMRC's role in the process is assisting employers to register new schemes when they decide to enrol their workforce into an alternative qualifying registered pension scheme.

If you are an employer you must make yourself aware of The Pensions Regulator and understand your obligations under automatic enrolment.

The new duties are being introduced over four years, starting with the UK's largest companies in 2012, other employers will follow in 2013 to 2016.

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