The Pensions Regulator published a consultation paper titled "Maintaining Contributions" on September 27 2012. The paper focuses on changes to its Codes of Practice dealing with trustees' and providers' duties to report late payment of contributions to DC pension schemes (both occupational and personal). The revisions are being proposed in the expectation that there will be an increasing volume of reports following the advent of auto-enrolment.
The proposed amendments will extend the current time limits for reports to be made to the Regulator and to members under the Codes of Practice in relation to late payments. The previous 90 day time period will be replaced with a duty on the trustees to report where they have reasonable cause to believe the employer is "not willing" to pay outstanding contributions, or in any event if the contributions are outstanding for 120 days. The revised code also makes it clear that a one-off late payment does not trigger a duty to report, and that occasional failures must be remedied in 120 days.
The consultation paper proposes that trustees report to members at the same time as to the Regulator. The time period for this will be within ten working days of the 120 day time period.
The Regulator also proposes to standardize the information to be reported. Further amendments to the Code of Practice will result in a focus on maintaining contributions, and this will include new sections on monitoring contributions and recovering unpaid contributions.
The implementation of the reform is timed to coincide with the staging dates of medium to small-sized employers, where there is a greater risk of late contributions by employers.
The consultation closes on December 6, 2012.
Further details and guidance can be found in the full consultation paper, here.