Employers expected to continue to meet AE duties amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has said that it expected employers to “continue to meet” their automatic enrolment (AE) duties amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Employers are still currently required to pay employee contributions, but the regulator noted that it was “closely monitoring” the ongoing situation and it will “act in line with government guidelines”.

Although the government has not made an official statement on whether it would consider pausing AE pension contributions, it suggested that it may be a possibility.

When asked whether it would allow a suspension of contributions, the government said that it would “do whatever it takes to protect businesses and employers from the effects of the coronavirus”.

“We recognise the difficulties they face and will help support businesses of all sizes so they can continue operating during these unprecedented times,” it added.

The Financial Times also reported that employers have been contacting the government to ask whether they will be allowed to pause or reduce the pension contributions they are paying for their workers.

TPR has already urged trustees to have appropriate contingency planning in place and to be “alive to risks” in the wake of the coronavirus.

It said that it will continue to monitor the situation and continue to provide schemes and trustees with the latest information to help minimise any impact on savers.

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