With auto enrolment now in full swing and exceeding many people's expectations as to its success, with very few problems occurring and with 90% choosing to remain in their occupational scheme once enrolled, you might expect that this bodes well for those businesses yet to auto enrol. It very well might, but the fact is that the companies who have auto enrolled already are the UK's biggest businesses, with the resources, knowledge and skills (or at least access to them) to fully comply with the legislation and ensure a smooth auto enrolment process.
However, many of the UK's smallest businesses have yet to enrol, and many of these will not have the specialist knowledge, skills or experience to cope with auto enrolment on their own. Neither may they have the time or resources to spare to access external help. Even worse, many may not be even aware that auto enrolment legislation applies to them.This may especially be applicable to families who employ a nanny and people who employ carers. Under auto enrolment legislation, both of these are classed as employers and are obliged to auto enrol their employees into a workplace pension scheme.
To help raise awareness of auto enrolment amongst the nation's small and micro employers, the Pensions Regulator have launched a series of ad campaigns starring a giant fluffy creature named Workie, who is 'a striking physical embodiment of the workplace pension'. The character will be seen visiting people in a range of workplace environments asking them not to ignore him. The campaign will be backed up with the hashtag #Dontignoreit and was launched by the government's Pensions Minister Baroness Ros Altmann. Baroness Altmann was personally involved in the design of Workie and backs the campaign to be a success in raising awareness of auto enrolment.
"This is a fun and quirky campaign but behind it lies a very serious message. We need everyone to know they are entitled to a workplace pension – and we need all employers to understand their legal responsibility to their staff, but also to feel more positive about engaging with workplace pensions."
The new Workie campaign will also include print, online and outdoor signage advertising and will run for the remainder of 2015 and on into 2016. Ensuring a hassle-free auto enrolment process for the many small and and micro businesses that are yet to auto enrol will be crucial to the overall success of the auto enrolment scheme. With auto enrolment already having a fundamental impact on the the way people are saving for their retirement, it's crucial that this goes even further and more people are able to save their way to a comfortable retirement. Otherwise, the future is bleak as it is almost certain that the government will not be able to fund people's retirement as they do now.
The first advert featuring Workie was shown this week in between the shows Emmerdale & Coronation Street. We're sure we'll be seeing a lot more of him.
Managing Director of Smart Pension, Will Wynne, and Anne- Marie O'Leary, editor-in-chief of parenting site, netmums.com, discusses auto enrolment on Sky News and in particular, how it will affect employers who hire home help such as nannies, and don't consider themselves to be employers.