TPO upholds complaint against Wolverhampton Lifting Ltd

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has upheld a complaint against Wolverhampton Lifting Ltd, and directed the employer to pay both missing pension contributions and compensation for “distress and inconvenience".

The complainant, identified in the ruling as Mr Y, alleged that Wolverhampton Lifting had failed to pay contributions into the Trust Potential Pension scheme despite deducting contributions totalling £2,747.60 from his pay.

The employer argued that Mr Y, like all other employees, was told that Wolverhampton Lifting didn’t want to pursue the pension scheme and to opt out, stating that it was Mr Y’s responsibility and choice to opt out of the pension scheme.

However, TPO's caseworker concluded that further action was required by Wolverhampton Lifting and, when further information wasn’t supplied, the caseworker based their opinion solely on the information provided by Mr Y.

The adjudicator subsequently ruled in favour of Mr Y but, after Wolverhampton Lifting did not accept the decision, the complaint was passed to the ombudsman who agreed with the adjudicator’s opinion, except on the “level of award for maladministration”.

In particular, the ombudsman directed Wolverhampton Lifting to, within 14 days of the date of the determination, pay Mr Y £1,000 for the serious distress and inconvenience he has experienced, up from the £500 initially proposed by the adjudicator.

The employer was also directed to produce a schedule showing the employee contributions deducted from Mr Y’s pay in respect of the period of his employment and forward the schedule to Mr Y, along with any reasonable additional information required for him to check the details.

In addition to this, the employer was directed to pay the missing contributions, within 14 days of receiving confirmation of agreement on the schedule by Mr Y, and establish with Trust Potential Pension whether the late payments of contributions has meant fewer units were purchased in Mr Y’s account than he would have otherwise secured.

The employer was also ordered to pay the cost of purchasing any additional units required to make up the shortfall, within 14 days of receiving confirmation from the scheme of any shortfall in Mr Y’s units.

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